Friday, May 30, 2014

Shinehah, Olea, and Kokaubeam

We learn in The Book of Abraham God's name for the Sun, the moon, and the stars: Shinehah, Olea, Kokaubeam. Jah-oh-eh turns out to be God's word for the earth. Good to know, right? One might think that knowing these divinely appointed names would result in their adoption into the common Mormon lexicon. I mean, once it was revealed that God's name is Elohim and that Jesus is Jehovah, the LDS Church really latched onto that and takes care to reenforce this knowledge, and yet when you go to church and listen to your lessons or to the temple and watch the Creation film you won't hear the Sun, the moon, the stars, or the earth referred to by their true names even once! Why is that? 

It's also a little strange that God hasn't been very consistent or insistent with these names when speaking to his prophets. The scriptures are full of references to the heavens and their various features and yet they contain God's preferred names only once, in Abraham 3! The closest you get to seeing these names in other scripture is in the Old Testament where the ancient Hebrew שֶׁמֶשׁ (she-mesh) at least starts with the same consonant as Shi-ne-hah and is followed by a similar vowel,  יָרֵחַ (ya-rey-ahh) sounds quite a bit like O-le-a, and the Hebrew for star כּוֹכָב (ko-khav) is almost identical to the pluralized Ko-bau-beam (-im is a Hebrew plural noun ending). I guess Hebrew really is closest to Adamic after all! God must have been revealing bits and pieces of his native tongue to Joseph, like the whole "Pay-lay-ale!" thing. 

But I still have a nagging doubt about these divine names found in Abraham 3. Didn't Joseph start learning Hebrew just after he purchased The Book of Abraham? Oh, really? Less than a year later? And when was the translation finally finished? Not before 1838? Hm... When was the translation finally published? 1842! So Joseph had about six years to dapple in Hebrew before going public with this thing. Do you think it might be possible that he was trying to show off his newly acquired Hebrew translating skills?

Not a smart move for an abecedarian. He's left too obvious a trail.

Of course, if Joseph's freestyling Hebrew isn't goofball enough, you can still relish in the other blunderful names found in the papyri translations (Elkenah, Enish-go-on-dosh, Kolob, Korash, Libnah, Mahmackrah, Oliblish, Olimlah, Raukeeyang, Shaumau, Shulem). Hebrew rip offs, pseudo-Egyptian, and a touch of fantasy make having faith in The Book of Abraham very problematic.


  1. Abraham wrote in Semetic Acadian. A language long dead before Hebrew was invented. The language Adam spoke is completely unknown, it is also unclear if Heavenly Father spoke the same language as Adam. It is of note that some words, as in English, come from root words found in other languages.

    1. What we know about languages today makes Joseph Smith's writings so painfully ignorant, even when he claims they are the words of God. Facts, like those discovered through modern linguistics, blow Mormon scripture wide open to easy criticism.