Abraham was an ancient biblical patriarch. Jews, Christians, and Muslims view him as the father of the faithful. Born in Ur of the Chaldees, Abraham moved to Haran, the land of Canaan, and Egypt before returning to Canaan. He is most noted for his faith in, obedience to, and covenant with God.
Amenophis (imn-htp), son of Tanoub, was an Egyptian priest at Thebes during the Ptolemaic period (332–30 B.C.). A papyrus belonging to him was in Joseph Smith’s possession but has since been lost (see pp. 10–13, 59).
Simeon Andrews (1798–?) was a farmer in Kirtland. He contributed $800 toward the purchase of the mummies and the Joseph Smith Papyri when Joseph Smith purchased them in July 1835. He moved to Nauvoo and later traveled west to Utah in 1847. In 1851 he served as a counselor in the California Branch (see pp. 2, 3).
Artapanus was a Jewish author who lived in Egypt before the first century B.C., probably during the reign of Ptolemy V. Artapanus mentioned Abraham in his works, noting that he taught astronomy to the Egyptians (see p. 16).
Lewis C. Bidamon (1806–1891), never a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, moved to Nauvoo in 1846 and married Emma Smith in 1847. With Emma and Joseph Smith III, Bidamon sold the Joseph Smith Papyri and mummies to Abel Combs in May 1856 (see pp. 2, 9, 57).
Ludlow Bull (1886–1954) was an American Egyptologist. Originally educated in law, he left his legal practice to study Egyptology, receiving his Ph.D. in 1922. He started the Egyptology program at Yale and was an associate curator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Department of Egyptian Art. Bull acquired the Joseph Smith Papyri for the museum toward the end of his tenure (see p. 9).
Michael H. Chandler (1797–1866) was born in Ireland. Living in New York in 1833, he borrowed $6000 to buy eleven mummies containing several papyrus manuscripts, now known as the Joseph Smith Papyri. Chandler toured the U.S. exhibiting the mummies, selling seven of them along the way. In 1835 he sold the remaining four mummies and the papyri to Joseph Smith for $2400. The account Chandler gave the Mormons of the mummies and papyri contains many inaccuracies, exaggerations, and fabrications, as well as some truth (see pp. 1, 2, 5).
Chibois (t3y-hy-bi3.t) was the wife of Osoroeris and mother of Hor. She lived at the end of the third century B.C. The name Chibois was common in Ptolemaic Egypt and is mentioned in a number of documents, none of which can be assigned to her with any certainty (see pp. 11, 54).
Joseph Coe (1774–1854) was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1831. He was appointed as an agent to purchase church property in 1833, and in 1835 assisted in purchasing the mummies and papyri. Coe left the church in 1838 in Ohio (see pp. 2, 3).
Abel Combs (1823–1892) was a farmer, plater, lamp-maker, latherer, machinist, and artist from Ohio. Combs left Ohio in 1855 and traveled to the Midwest. He purchased the Joseph Smith Papyri and the accompanying mummies in 1856 in Nauvoo, selling some of the antiquities almost immediately to the St. Louis Museum (see pp. 2, 9, 52, 55, 57, 58).
Oliver Cowdery (1806–1850) was a teacher, lawyer, and news-paper editor. After serving as a school teacher in Palmyra, New York, he acted as scribe to Joseph Smith for the translation of the Book of Mormon. He was one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, seeing both the plates from which they were translated and the angel; he was also present at a number of divine visitations. One of the first elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at its organization in 1830, Cowdery was appointed assistant president of the church in 1834. He left the church in 1838 in Missouri and then worked as a lawyer in Ohio and Wisconsin. In 1848 Oliver Cowdery was rebaptized into the church (see p. 5).
Eskhons (ns-hnsw), mother of Semminis. Nothing else is known about her at this time, other than that she lived in the late third century B.C. (see pp. 11, 56).
Eupolemus was a Jew (or perhaps a Samaritan) who lived in the mid–second century B.C. In one of his writings he claimed that Abraham taught the Egyptians astronomy (see p. 16).
Hecataeus of Abdera lived in the time of the Egyptian king Ptolemy I (about 300 B.C.). When Ptolemy I controlled Abdera, Hecataeus traveled to Egypt, going as far south as Thebes to learn about Egypt firsthand. Five books are attributed to Hecataeus, including Concerning the Jews and About Abraham and the Egyptians. Only a fragment of the latter work is preserved, but it mentions Abraham teaching the Egyptians astronomy (see p. 16).
Reuben Hedlock (1801–?) was a carpenter in Ohio. After joining the church, he was appointed as the president of the quorum of elders in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1837 but moved to Missouri in 1838. He served a mission in England in 1840, returning to Nauvoo the next year. He prepared the facsimiles for the publication of the Book of Abraham in 1842. In 1843 he returned to England to preside over that mission until he was excommunicated in 1845 (see pp. 4, 5, 6, 7, 34, 39).
Alice Combs Weaver Heusser inherited the Joseph Smith Papyri from her mother, Charlotte Weaver. Alice married Edward Heusser in 1896. She approached the Metropolitan Museum of Art to sell the papyri in 1918, but they were not interested at the time, so she kept the papyri until her death (see pp. 2, 9).
Edward Heusser married Alice Combs Weaver in 1896. He sold the Joseph Smith Papyri to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1947 (see pp. 2, 9).
Hor (hr), son of Osoroeris and Chibois, held the offices -
of prophet of Amonrasonter, prophet of Min-who--massacres-his-enemies, and prophet of Chespisichis in Thebes at the beginning of the second century B.C. He is known to have had at least two sons, Osoroeris and Harsiesis. He was the original owner of Joseph Smith Papyri I, X, and XI (see pp. 10–13, 15, 60).
Charlotte E. Benecke Weaver Huntsman was a nurse to Abel Combs and acquired the Joseph Smith Papyri from him, which she later passed to her daughter (see pp. 2, 9, 54).
Giovanni Pietro Antonio Lebolo (1781–1830) was born in Castellamonte, Italy. He enrolled in Napoleon’s army in 1799 and was injured in 1801 at San Agostino. After the defeat of Napoleon, Lebolo went to Egypt and worked for Bernardino Drovetti (former French consul general to Egypt) between 1817 and 1822, during which time he excavated the mummies with which the Joseph Smith Papyri were buried and also the Soter family tomb. He returned to Italy in 1822, settling in Castellamonte in 1825, and went into the grocery and real estate businesses (see pp. 1, 2, 25, 59, 64).
Noufianoub (nfr-ir.t-nbw). Her name is attested only as the owner of Joseph Smith Papyrus III. She was a wealthy Egyptian living in the area of Thebes during the Ptolemaic period (332–30 B.C.) (see pp. 10–13, 18).
Albano Oblasser was an Italian shipper based in Trieste. Antonio Lebolo sent the mummies and the Joseph Smith Papyri through Oblasser to New York to be sold in the late 1820s or early 1830s (see pp. 1, 2).
Osoroeris (wsir-wr), son of Chaponchonsis and father of Hor, held the offices of prophet of Amonrasonter, prophet of Min-who-massacres-his-enemies, prophet of Chespisichis, keeper of secrets, and other priestly offices. He was also the great governor in Thebes at the end of the third century B.C. (see pp. 11, 15, 52, 54).
Warren Parrish (1803–1887) was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in May 1833 by Brigham Young. From 1834 to 1835 he served a mission in Kentucky and Tennessee with Wilford Woodruff. Parrish was a scribe to Joseph Smith from 29 October 1835 to April 1836 and assisted in the translation of the Book of Abraham after April 1836. In 1837 he renounced his church membership and was unsuccessful in leading a splinter group. In 1850 he was a clergyman in Mendon, New York. At his death he was classified as insane (see pp. 4, 5).
Josiah Quincy (1802–1882) became mayor of Boston in 1845. He visited Nauvoo in 1844 and was shown the Joseph Smith Papyri. Quincy left an account of what he saw, which appears accurate, but records of others who were present show that many of his statements about what he heard are inaccurate (see pp. 25, 65).
Franklin D. Richards (1821–1899) was ordained an apostle of the church on 12 February 1849. He presided over the European Mission from 1851 to 1852, where he published the Pearl of Great Price in England in 1851. Richards became president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1898 (see p. 6).
Willard Richards (1804–1854) was a medical doctor who converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in December 1836. From 1837 to 1841 he served a mission in England. Richards was ordained an apostle in 1840. He served as a private secretary to Joseph Smith from 1841 to 1844 and was with Joseph Smith when he was assassinated. In 1847 Richards moved to Utah with the Mormon pioneers (see pp. 4, 33).
Semminis (t3-sr.t-mn), daughter of Eskhons, was a wealthy Egyptian apparently of priestly lineage in the late third century B.C. She owned Joseph Smith Papyri II, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, and IX (see pp. 10–13, 14, 32, 42, 46, 50).
Sesonchis (or Sheshonq) (ssnq) was a wealthy member of an Egyptian priestly family. He owned the original hypo-cephalus of which Facsimile 2 is a copy. The name Sesonchis was common in Egypt, and without further information it would be impossible to identify the owner of the Joseph Smith hypocephalus with any other known Sesonchis (see p. 11).
Emma Hale Smith (1804–1879) married Joseph Smith Jr. in 1827. She assisted her husband as a scribe during the translation of the Book of Mormon and was allowed to handle the plates from which it was translated, although she never saw them. Emma was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830. In 1835 she helped compile the first hymnal, and in 1842 she was appointed the first president of the Female Relief Society in Nauvoo, Illinois. She remained in Nauvoo after the death of her husband in 1844. In 1847 she married Lewis C. Bidamon and, with him and her son Joseph Smith III, sold the Joseph Smith Papyri to Abel Combs in 1856 (see pp. 2, 9, 52, 58).
Joseph Smith Jr. (1805–1844) received his first divine vision in 1820. In 1829 he translated the Book of Mormon from gold plates. He organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 6 April 1830, becoming its first prophet and president. From 1830 to 1833 he worked on a translation of the Bible. He acquired a number of papyrus documents and mummies in July 1835 and translated the Book of Abraham later in the month, publishing it in 1842. Driven from New York in 1831, he settled in Ohio, journeying frequently to Missouri, until he moved there in 1838. Under threat of extermination by the Missouri government, the Mormons left Missouri and settled in Illinois, where Joseph Smith founded the city of Nauvoo. In 1842 he was elected mayor of Nauvoo, and in 1844 he ran for President of the United States. He was assassinated by a mob in Carthage, Illinois, on 27 June 1844.
Joseph Smith III (1832–1914) was still a young boy when his father, Joseph Smith Jr., was killed. In 1856 he sold the mummies and Joseph Smith Papyri to Abel Combs. In 1860 he became president of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (see pp. 2, 9, 52, 57).
Lucy Mack Smith (1775–1856) was the wife of Joseph Smith Sr. and mother of the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. She was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830 and wrote a biographical sketch of her son in 1845. Widowed in 1840 and preceded in death by most of her children, Lucy remained in Nauvoo after the death of Joseph Smith Jr., in the care of his wife Emma. Lucy Mack Smith retained possession of the Joseph Smith Papyri after her son’s death until her own death in 1856 (see pp. 2, 9).
Philo of Alexandria (30 B.C.–A.D. 45) was a Jewish priest who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, at the time of Trajan in the first century A.D. He was steeped in both Jewish lore and Greek philosophy. Philo interpreted the Bible allegorically to show that the Bible really taught the then-trendy scholarly philosophy Middle Platonism. Philo used nonbiblical traditions to support his allegorical interpretation, including several that dealt with Abraham and his knowledge of astronomy (see p. 16).
Soter, son of Cornelius Pollus, was archon of Thebes in A.D. 107. His family was prominent in Thebes and quite weal-thy. The Soter family coffins, excavated by Antonio Lebolo, are a major source of astronomical material from Roman-period Egypt (see pp. 26, 27, 55, 64).
Tanoub (t3-nbw) was the mother of Amenophis and presumably lived in the Ptolemaic period (332–30 B.C.). There were many people by the name of Tanoub in Ptolemaic Thebes, but it is not certain which of these she may have been (see pp. 11, 51).
Zosimus of Panopolis was an Egyptian alchemist who lived in the third century A.D. He draws on both Jewish and Egyptian sources in his alchemical work, some of which has survived (see p. 16).