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Framing the Book of Abraham: Presumptions and Paradigms

TitleFraming the Book of Abraham: Presumptions and Paradigms
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsSmoot, Stephen O.
JournalInterpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship
KeywordsApologetics; Book of Abraham; Historicity; Pseudepigrapha

The Book of Abraham continues to undergo scrutiny in both academic and polemical publications. The latest offering of substance in the latter category, Dan Vogel’s Book of Abraham Apologetics: A Review and Critique, criticizes the work of those who argue for the antiquity and inspiration of the Book of Abraham and makes a sustained argument that the book is, instead, modern pseudepigrapha written by a pious fraud (Joseph Smith) in the nineteenth century. Book of Abraham Apologetics lays out a particular naturalistic approach to this text that works best only when certain metaphysical and methodological assumptions are taken for granted. This approach, however, as well as most of his arguments against the Book of Abraham’s historicity, are severely undermined both by Vogel’s inability to properly assess the evidence and his metaphysical or ideological commitments. This review critiques Vogel’s critique of Book of Abraham apologetics and offers an alternative to his questionable framing of the text and its interpretation.