Thursday, February 26, 2015

Letter of Arthur Budvarson—Part VI

Continuing with Arthur Budvarson’s six questions asked of Dr. Roberts of the Smithsonian Institution about the Book of Mormon, their answers and our evaluation. The first four questions were covered in the last four posts. Here is the fifth question: 
5. “Has there been any Hebrew or Egyptian writings found in the ancient ruins discovered on the American continent?”
It is interesting that a front page story dated April 5, 1909, in the Arizona Gazette recounted the discovery of a series of bizarre caves and artifacts in the Marble Canyon region of the Grand Canyon. The report claimed two Smithsonian-funded archaeologists, Prof. S. A. Jordan and G. E. Kinkaid, are responsible for the find. However, the Smithsonian claims that no record exists of Kincaid or Professor Jordan within the Smithsonian's Department of Anthropology, nor is there a paper trail at the Smithsonian detailing the artifacts gathered on the expedition. When asked directly about Kincaid's claims, a Smithsonian representative said, “The first thing I can tell you, before we go any further, is that no Egyptian artifacts of any kind have ever been found in North or South America. Therefore, I can tell you that the Smithsonian Institute has never been involved in any such excavations.”
    Some claim that the Smithsonian destroyed all such records, and no data outside the article substantiates the existence of Professor Jordan or Kincaid outside of a follow-up article in the newspaper on March 12, that Kincaid was in Yuma, Arizona. Whether this story or beliefs about the Smithsonian are true or not, there has been a long-standing acceptance of Egyptian influence in the Americas, some of which attributed to Smithsonian involvement.
    There are also certain similarities between these three areas: Egypt, Peru and Mexico all mummified their dead; believed in underground burial tombs; worshiped a single, eternal God; built stepped pyramids; and had a sun god named Ra, Raymi and Rana respectively. Egypt and Peru both used gold fillings for teeth; had similar technologies of working and building with stone with extremely close tolerances between them.
Top: Stone work in Egypt; Bottom: Stone work in Andean Peru. Both structures are built with large stone and fitted perfectly with no more than 1/50 of an inch tolerance in motarless precision
    In fact, where rituals and practices play an important part in any culture, between Egypt and Central and South America there were many rituals and practices that were alike, such as circumcision, astrology, and having annual agricultural fairs. It is also obvious that the South American culture developed later than the Egyptian, and the Central America later than that.
    It should also be noted that Egyptian hieroglyphs have been found on ancient ruins in southern Chile near the Atlantic coast, a stone carving of a griffin-sphinx was found near Cuzco in Peru, and a statuette of the goddess Isis and one of an unknown pharaoh have been excavated near San Salvador.
    In fact, work has been done to show that the ancient Andean language in South America (Quechua), has its roots in Egyptian hieroglyphics. Dr. Charles William Johnson, a full-time, tenured researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales, UNAM, (“The Sound of Meaning Language Series” of Science in Ancient Artwork, 2009), has shown where Runa Simi (Runa Shimi), also popularly known as Quechua (Qhichwa Simi), with over 45 dialects, said to be grouped in at least seven languages, constituting a family of languages, traces its roots to Egyptian hieroglyphics.
    Showing that one language supports and clarifies the phonemic/morphemic expressions in the other language, Runa Simi, which literally means “people mouth,” and translates as “the mouth (language) of the people.” This is similar to the Egyptian hieroglyphs ReMaMa-T, literally “people word,” or “word of the people.” Where one language (Egyptian) shows the “word” (symbol), the other (Quechua) clarifies it to mean “spoken word.”
    Numerous comparison root meanings exist between Egyptian hieroglyphics and basic Quechua—a few are shown here:
In addition, Aele Berkerie, in Ethiopic, an African Writing System (Red Sea Press, 1997) claims that the Quipus knots of South America show parallel features with some of the Ancient Egyptian writing systems, particularly the signs or symbols for life and the Ethiopic syllographs S and H, thereby signaling a possible historical connection between Ancient Egypt and ancient America.
    In 1933, Frank C. Hibben discovered a 90-ton rock in New Mexico with ancient Hebrew writing, listing the Ten Commandments. A form of hieroglyphics shows up in Easter Island off the coast of Chile in the undecipherable Rongorongo language. In The Decipherment of Ancient Maya Writing (2001) by Stephen D. Houston, pictured symbols of glyphs of the Toltecas, Aztecas, Huaztecas, Skeres, Panos, etc., are considered similar to the earliest Egyptian glyphs. Carolyn A. Krebs in Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions and Discoveries (2003), also links Egyptian hieroglyphics with those found in South America.
    In addition, cone-shaped skulls are found in both Egypt and South America; building techniques were very similar in Egypt as they were in Peru. Take the stone clamp sockets used in Dendera, Egypt, which clamped together most of their ashlar masonry, with that of Ollantaytambo and Puma Punku, where sockets were carved into adjoining blocks of stone and fitted with clamps.
Stones with clamp sockets: Left: Ollantaytambo, Peru; Center: Puma Punku, Peru/Bolivia; Right: Dendera, Egypt
    It should also be noted that Roman ships sailed east to India, China, Cambodia, and Vietnam. They also appear to have visited the New World. There is no mistaking the shorelines of Florida, Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico, and Peru on ancient maps dating back to the Roman era. On the 5th-century Macrobius map the northern region of the Antipodes (South America) is called ‘perusta’, a name referring to the hot, dry climate. On the Albertin de Virga map of 1414 the Peruvian coast is referred to as Ca-paru, and on the Andrea Bianco map of 1436 this region is called the Land of Per. Clearly Peru was named before the arrival of Pizarro in 1521, who supposedly named the country after a local river (Gunnar Thompson, Secret Voyages to the New World, pp. 42-3).
    As for finding ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics found on ancient ruins in the Americas, there would have been none found in South America, for most of the buildings, as mentioned earlier, were made of adobe brick, which has deteriorated extensively over the centuries, and Central America (Mesoamerica) was not where the Book of Mormon Nephites were located.
However, another point is that Egyptian hieroglyphics were not the language used by the Nephites—they wrote in Hebrew. Lehi and his family came from the area of Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:4), though he knew and understood “the language of the Egyptians” (1 Nephi 1:2). Evidently, Egyptian was the language used only for the sacred record (the plates of Nephi and those Mormon engraved) and, as Moroni acknowledged, “And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech. And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record” (Mormon 9:32).
    From this, it would appear that the Nephites for a thousand years wrote their sacred records (what we have as the Book of Mormon) in Reformed Egyptian, but the rest of their writing was in Hebrew. How many Nephites even understood (could read or write) Egyptian is unknown, however, an incident in Helaman suggests that few were taught Reformed Egyptian, when Helaman "caused that [his sons] should be taught in all the language of his fathers, that thereby they might become men of understanding; and that they might know concerning the prophecies which had been spoken by the mouths of their fathers, which were delivered them by the hand of the Lord" (Mosiah 1:2)--an obvious reference to the scriptures, which were in Reformed Egyptian; however, it is not likely that most were so taught since Hebrew was their native and daily language (lingua franca), and the sacred records were only in the hands of a few that recorded upon them and kept them current.
    With all these similarities, one might wonder why the Smithsonian has not spent some effort in looking into possible connections between the Americas and Egypt. One also might wonder if there is a reason why no such effort has been made in the past by an Institution that claims to be so interested in American archaeology and anthropology.

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