More than one? It might seem out of the question, black and white. It might seem like an open and shut case. But the fact is, the issue has never been explored. How can it be open and shut when it was never actually opened in the first place?
In 1967, the Book of Breathings of a Priest named Hor, among other papyri, was returned to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And only then could we see there was a big hole (lacunae) in the Hor papyrus, ripping out the section of the extant vignette which corresponds to where the knife is drawn in Facsimile 1 and where the head is drawn on the standing figure. Those had been the most controversial parts of the facsimile, so it looked too convenient for the head and knife to be showing up in Facsimile 1.
Due to the obvious similarity between the facsimile and the recovered vignette on the Hor roll, everyone assumed the source had been found. And scholars were so busy trying to make sense of the flood of questions which the 1967 find brought in, that I don't think anyone had the time or inclination to even think about whether it was one and the same vignette.
Still, some things were hard to explain. Like the fact that eyewitnesses said they saw a man holding a knife, depicted on the papyrus. How could they have seen that when the man’s hands are torn out by the lacunae on the extant vignette?
Many lion couch scenes were drawn anciently. Each one was unique. So, could there have been more than one rendering of the scene depicted in Facsimile 1? I would suggest that this question actually does merit investigation and thoughtful analysis.
Consider the implications. If it were the case that a very similar vignette was on the non-extant papyrus containing the Book of Abraham, that could account for Abraham 1:12-14, and also account for the evident confusion which led people to draw characters from the Hor papyrus in the margins of the Parrish and Williams manuscripts of the Book of Abraham (the Phelps manuscript, on the other hand, which is the only one which actually labels a column for characters, demonstrates legitimate Egyptology, as I explained here).
So that would kill two huge birds with one stone.
Let’s talk about how it could have happened. Hor was an interesting case. He had both a Book of Breathings and a Book of the Dead made and buried with him. You might ask, why would he want both? Well, he was sparing no expense. He was prominent and wealthy and was probably buried with a number of other things as well.
And this is where it gets really interesting. Dr. Robert Ritner came to believe that the extant vignette from the Hor Book of Breathings was quite special and was copied from a scene on a temple wall.
Let's assume Ritner was correct.
That would mean, in his words, "what we've got here is like a Kodak moment that's been taken of a now lost temple, and I think that makes this papyrus extremely valuable..." Ritner said he intended to announce this discovery at a future meeting with his colleagues, which evidently never happened due to his failing health.
And that means there was more than one Facsimile 1, in the sense that there was more than one rendering anciently of the specific scene we see in Facsimile 1.
And the vignette in the Hor Book of Breathings is not the original.
It also means the scene on the wall was special to Hor for some reason. He wanted a copy or copies of it.
How many copies? Well, this is the man who had both a Book of Breathings and a Book of the Dead made for himself. So if he's going to commission a scribe to travel to a temple and sit in front of a wall and draw a special scene that's on the wall, why not send more than one scribe and have them each make a copy? Doesn't it make sense that if he was going to go to such unprecedented effort to get this particular scene, that there was something special about this situation?
And what would the result be? The scribes would be rendering an image carved on a wall into a form that's fit for papyrus. Each scribe may have their own style, deciding what to leave out, what to embellish, what to change.
So we would expect each copy to look similar but to be distinctly different. It's like if you and a friend each draw a picture of the same tree, we would expect your pictures to look similar but different when compared to each other.
The issue is not just that there are differences.
The issue is that nothing at all is copied the same.
It's hard to imagine Hedlock looking at the vignette while copying it and not getting a single line the same. Yet, he had to be looking at whatever he was copying, in order to copy it.
It's like two different artists with different styles. Below are a few close-up comparisons, to show what I mean.
The next step in investigating this would be to break down the stylistic differences in Facsimile 1 and determine if they are real Egyptological variations, because Hedlock, the engraver, would have had no way of knowing how to correctly alter the image (and it seems doubtful he would have felt at liberty to turn it into his own drawing by making up details rather than attempting to copy the ancient document).