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Pearl of Great Price PN 1. SHINEHAH1 “the sun” (BofAbraham 3:13)

As Egyptian, SHINEHAH could certainly be the “sun,” since it apparently incorporates Egyptian šn(w), the name for the solar “circuit,” and for the old “cartouche” – “emblem of sun’s orbit, which symbolizes eternity”[1]; + Egyptian nḥḥ “eternity, forever” (with solar determinative ⊙) > Coptic eneḥ “eternity,” šaeneḥ “forever”; or Egyptian ḥḥ > Coptic ḥaḥ “million, large number,” which may be related. Egyptian nḥḥ is “dynamic eternity,” to be differentiated from dt “static eternity.”[2] Cf. also 1 Nephi 10:19, “the course of the Lord is one eternal round”; Alma 7:20, D&C 35:1, “course is one eternal round.”

Used also as a convenient code-word for Kirtland, Ohio, in 1835 D&C 82:12, 117:8, etc.[3]

John Gee has suggested another etymology for SHINEHAH, from ancient Egyptian š-n-ḫЗ , the prouniciation of which he reconstructs as *šī-ne-ḫaʼ,[4] which describes the sun’s ecliptic as a “celestial waterway” going across the sky from East to West.[5] Egyptologist Raymond Faulkner translated the alternative (earlier) reading, Mr nḫЗ, as the “Winding Waterway”[6] in the sky, ascending with Reˁ and the Imperishable Stars (see especially Pyramid Text 624).


  1. Budge, Book of the Dead (1913), II:381-382; (Univ. Books, 1960), 259; Budge, The Mummy, 2nd ed., 264; Budge, Hieroglyphic Dictionary, 743-744 (šnw “endless time, eternity”; šnt nt pt “circuit of heaven”; šnw n tЗ “circuit of the earth”); Nibley long ago noted this use of the šn-sign (private communication to RFS).
  2. James P. Allen, “The Celestial Realm,” in D. Silverman, ed., Ancient Egypt, 131; J. Cooper first pointed this out to RFS during his Middle Egyptian class at the Claremont Colleges in 1968-1969.
  3. See the explanation of Christopher Smith, “The Inspired Fictionalization of the 1835 United Firm Revelations,” Claremont Journal of Mormon Studies, 1/1 (Apr 2011):22, 24, and n. 31.
  4. Gee, Interpreter, 42 (2021):157.
  5. Pearl of Great Price Central, ““Shinehah, The Sun,” Book of Abraham Insight #16, Oct 23, 2019, online at .
  6. Faulkner, Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, §§340,343,352,359,469,543,594-597,599-600, 802, 1084, 1102, 1138, 1162, 1228,1345,1376-1377,1382,1441,1541,1704,1737,1759,2061,2172,2235.


  • Gee, John L. An Introduction to the Book of Abraham. Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center/ SLC: Deseret Book, 2017.