|Home||The Catalog of Accusations|
|Accusation: Joseph Smith said the plates were written in "Reformed Egyptian". No such language has ever existed. It's just hilarious.|
The problem with this accusation is that it's more hilarious than its proponents suppose.
|Examples: Isaiah Bennett, Inside Mormonism|
The Nephites came from the Middle East and wrote in a mixture of Egyptian and Hebrew. Study of ancient Mediterranean cultures shows that this was not unusual, as we will see.
The Nephites used this system for their sacred records, and over the 1000 years of their history, they gradually modified it. Among other things, they changed the shape of the letters. At the end of their civilization, Moroni wrote the statement quoted at right.
When Joseph Smith translated this into the common English of his time and region, the word "reformed" meant 'reshaped'. Shape and form are the same thing. He didn't mean 'rehabilitated'.
Hieroglyphics (Greek term, means 'sacred engravings') was the old written language of Egypt. Early on there evolved two derivatives, hieratic and demotic. These systems were similar to hieroglyphics, but the shapes of the symbols were changed and simplified.
When the Jews returned from Babylon, they'd lost the original Hebrew alphabet. They wrote Hebrew, including their sacred records, using the Aramaic alphabet. I theorize that the Babylonians forbade them to write in Hebrew, to suppress intrigues.
The Greeks themselves, voyaging to Egypt, saw the hieroglyphics and borrowed some of the symbols, incorporating them into their written language.
Later Egyptians, Christians, evolved the Coptic alphabet from the Greek alphabet, adopting demotic symbols into it (and changing the shapes a bit.)
Greek Christians translated the Jewish Christians' writings (ie. New Testament) into Greek; they transliterated Jewish names (like ישוע, Yeshua) in the Greek alphabet (where it became Ιησου, eventually Jesus in English.)
The Romans copied the Greek alphabet, with some changes to usage and shapes.
Modern English uses the Roman alphabet, again with some changes to usage and shapes.
1Nephi 1:2) 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. (Nephi, at the beginning of Nephite history)
Thus, English can rightly be said to be <drum roll...> reshaped Egyptian. It is HILARIOUS to read supposedly educated scholars pontificating that they cannot identify any "Reformed Egyptian" language, writing this complaint in <drum roll...> English.