• The Papers
  • Revelations and TranslationsInterim Content

Book of Abraham, Early 1842

Editorial Note
Times and Seasons, 1 Mar. 1842, 3:703–706.

NO. 1.
Explanation of the above Cut.
Fig. 1,—The Angel of the Lord.
2. Abraham, fastened upon an Altar.
3. The Idolatrous Priest of Elkenah attempting to offer up Abraham as a  sacrifice.
4. The Altar for sacrifice, by the Idolatrous Priests, standing before the  Gods of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmachrah, Korash, and Pharaoh.
5. The Idolatrous God of Elkenah.
6. The “ “ “ Libnah.
7. The “ “ “ Mahmachrah.
8. The “ “ “ Korash.
9. The “ “ “ Pharaoh.
10. Abraham in Egypt.
11. Designed to represent the pillars of Heaven, as understood by the  Egyptians.
12. Raukeeyang, signifying expanse, or the firmament, over our heads; but  in this case, in relation to this subject, the Egyptians meant it to signify Shamau,  to be high, or the heavens: answering to the Hebrew word, Shaumahyeem. [p. [703]]
As discussed in the general introduction to the Book of Abraham manuscripts on this website, JS and his scribes Oliver Cowdery, William W. Phelps, Frederick G. Williams, and Warren Parrish spent considerable time in 1835 engaged in two separate yet related endeavors: a language-study effort that produced a number of Egyptian alphabet and grammar manuscripts; and the translation of the Book of Abraham, which yielded several Abraham manuscripts. However, none of their work related to Abraham appeared in print until 1842. At that time a portion, if not all, of the Abraham material available was published at Nauvoo, Illinois, in three installments of the Times and Seasons, two in March and one in May of that year as the Book of Abraham.
The Times and Seasons text featured here did not divide the material into chapters, but did include thirty-two numbered verses. In contrast, later publication of these Abraham texts, including those in use today, arrange the thirty-two verses of the Times and Seasons version into five chapters containing 136 shorter verses.
The first of the three printed installments, published on 1 March 1842, included the first thirteen verses (what is currently Abraham 1:1–2:18) of JS’s translation, plus facsimile 1. The second installment, published under date of 15 March but actually printed on 19 March (Woodruff, Journal, 19 Mar. 1842), included verses 14–32 (currently Abraham 2:19–5:21), plus facsimile 2. Neither of the first two installments featured hieratic characters in the left margin of the text, as did some earlier manuscripts. The third and final Times and Seasons installment of the Book of Abraham was published on 16 May and featured only facsimile 3.
A document (Willard Richards Copy of Abraham Manuscript, Early 1842–A [Abraham 1:1–2:18]) produced in late 1841 or early 1842 in Willard Richards’s handwriting likely served as a printer’s manuscript for the first installment described above (verses 1–13 and facsimile 1; currently Abraham 1:1–2:18). A second document (Willard Richards Copy of Abraham Manuscript, Early 1842–B [Abraham 3:18–26], also in Richards’s hand, probably served as a printer’s manuscript for the second installment (verses 14–23; currently Abraham 3:18–26). Manuscripts for the contents of both facsimile 3 and the last nine verses in the Times and Seasons version of the Book of Abraham (currently Abraham 4:3–5:21) are not extant.
Evidence from multiple sources suggests that JS may have produced other Abraham material that is no longer extant. However, JS did not subsequently publish any additional Abraham texts. (Hauglid, Textual History of the Book of Abraham, 5–6.)