Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Audubon's Predecessor + a Nephi Application

It seems people have always been fascinated by birds. For those of you who wish to peek into my aha! moment concerning Book of Mormon history, read on below.
This is an Egyptian papyrus document written in coptic script. For those of you wondering what happened to the hieroglyphics, I'll tell you this: they weren't Egypt's only forms of communication. Everything written that was NOT part of public show was done in either Hieratic or Coptic script because they are compacted adjustments from the traditional pictograms of the hieroglyphs-- faster and easier to write, and requiring less space. 

Egyptian was the international language of its day; all foreign correspondence between kings was written in coptic. Educated merchants and scribes across the Middle East used it for international trade. "Laundry lists" and receipts have been found by archaeologists recently attesting to this fact. 

I wore a gleeful grin on my face one day in November when I put two and two together.  Reformed Egyptian? ahem

Not only does this writing style take up a smaller amount of space than anything else of its time (way less than Hebrew--trust me!), it also allows for foreign words to be included. And because it was used internationally, in 600 BC it would have been the way to communicate to the largest worldwide audience. If I were Nephi it would TOTALLY make sense to write my record in script. So whether or not Coptic is the "reformed egyptian" we know of, it may very well be close. 


Alicia said...

Interessante! "I love the way your foul little mind works!" :)

Rachel EM said...

"and then YOU shove the crackers down HIS throat!"

Bill said...

'kay, that's just cool. :-)

Does it use word phrases instead of punctuation? For example, I heard that "And it came to pass" shows up so often because in "reformed Egyptian," that was one of the word phrases to indicate a new thought/sentence.

Rachel EM said...

Actually that's really close, Bill; but "and it came to pass" is a three-character Hebrew word, "Vah-yih-hee." In Hebrew syntax it designates the circumstance (or setting) at the beginning of a verse. So that's Hebrew, not Egyptian. Coptic and Hieratic use pictures to represent not only objects, but ideas, not unlike Japanese kanji.