Articles/Essays – Volume 45, No. 3

Formulas and Facts: A Response to John Gee

In winter 2010, Chris Smith and I published an article in Dialogue demonstrating that no more than ~56 cm of papyrus can be missing from the interior of the scroll of Hôr—the papyrus Joseph Smith identified as the Book of Abraham. John Gee has responded by claiming that our method is “anything but accurate” and that it “glaringly underestimates the length of the scroll.” He states that “Two different formulas have been published for estimating the original length of a scroll,” then attempts to show that “Hoffmann’s formula approximates the actual length of the papyrus,” whereas “Cook and Smith’s formula predicts a highly inaccurate length.” The fact is, the two formulas are completely equivalent. They are both exact expressions of an Archimedean spiral and they yield precisely the same results, if correctly applied.

Editor’s Note: For the mathematical analysis of the scrolls, see PDF below.

Note: The Dialogue Foundation provides the web format of this article as a courtesy. Please note that there may be unintentional differences from the printed version. For citational and bibliographical purposes, please use the printed version or the PDFs provided online and on JSTOR.

2012: Andrew Cook, “Formulas and Facts:A Response to John Gee,” Dialogue 45.3 (Fall 2012): 1 – 10.