1Nephi 1:2 The Learning of the Jews and the Language of the Egyptians.
Excerpts from Step by Step through the Book of Mormon (unpublished) by Alan C. Miner
From the Ancient American Foundation (AAF). Visit their web site at https://www,ancientamerica.org
“And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech
And if our plates had been sufficiently large we would have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.
But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language.” (Mormon 9:32-34)
One scholar (Sidney B Sperry) of the Book of Mormon (has theorized) that “Nephi wrote in the Hebrew language but used Egyptian characters or script in the same sense that a stenographer uses Gregg characters to express English words” (Sidney B. Sperry, Our Book of Mormon, Bookcraft, 1950, p. 31)
Since most people associate Egyptian writing with hieroglyphics, the question arises, does the wording “language of the Egyptians” imply that the small plates were written in “Egyptian” hieroglyphic characters? Furthermore, what constituted the “reformed Egyptian” characters that Moroni talks about in Mormon 9:32-34?
According to Hugh Nibley, in matters of language and composition the Book of Mormon from the first presented a welcome target to the critics: here was some-thing that even a child could see was fraudulent, some thing that no intelligent person, let alone a clever deceiver would dream of-From the reformed Egyptian!!!” screamed Alexander Campbell with three exclamation points. Nobody body knew anything about reformed Egyptian then.but “Reformed Egyptian” is as good of term as any to describe that peculiar and remarkably abbreviation from the 8th to the 4th centuries, which enjoyed the heyday of its international popularity in Lehi’s own time. (Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah, F.A.R.M.S. p.149)
Thus, we could call the style of written characters probably not exactly like the ‘reformed Egyptian of Mormon and Moroni’s time because according to Moroni, as it was handed down, “it was altered by us according to our manner of speech.” (Mormon 9:32)
This illustration shows how Egyptian writing would represent the name “Ammon” moving from complicated “Hieroglyphics” to an extremely abbreviated “Reformed Egyptian” at 600 B.C. [Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah, F.A.R.M.S., p. 1491
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