What do the Joseph Smith Papyri actually say? Joseph Smith's pronouncements on things Egyptian touched off a debate that for 170 years has flared up at intervals. It now promises to reach new dimensions as the result of a pronounced shift of attitude among eminent Egyptologists - not toward what the Prophet said about the papyri (which they have ignored), but to closely related matters of interpretation and reconstruction.
In The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, Dr. Hugh Nibley addresses himself to questions that scientists and scholars in many fields are now asking with increasing insistence: Do we really know what the ancients were talking about? Could it be that there was something to their mysteries after all?
Of recent years such questions have opened up awesome vistas of the past as researchers, moving on a broad front of comparative studies, have crossed disciplinary lines with a freedom that is yielding impressive results. By training and temperament, Dr. Nibley claims, he is better equipped to cross boundaries than to reverence them. Though he reads Egyptian, he declares that his own limited scholarship has obliged him to have constant recourse to the studies and conclusions of authentic scholars.