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The Egyptian Book of the Dead

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Author Topic: The Egyptian Book of the Dead  (Read 7992 times)
Josie Linde
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« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2008, 11:09:53 pm »

conception.[1] He is the prince of princes, the mightiest of the mighty, he is greater than the gods, he is the young bull with sharp pointed horns, and he protecteth the world in his great name 'Eternity cometh with its power and bringing therewith the bounds (?) of everlastingness.' He is the firstborn god, the god who existed from the beginning, the governor of the world by reason of his strength, the terrible one of the two lion-gods,[2] the aged one, the form of Khepera which existeth in all the gods, the lion of fearsome glance, the governor terrible by reason of his two eyes,[3] the lord who shooteth forth flame [therefrom] against his enemies. He is the primeval water which floweth forth in its season to make to live all that cometh forth upon his potter's wheel.[4] He is the disk of the Moon, the beauties whereof pervade heaven and earth, the untiring and beneficent king, whose will germinateth from rising to setting, from whose divine eyes men and women come forth, and from whose mouth the gods do come, and [by whom] food and meat and drink are made and provided, and [by whom] the things which exist are created. He is the lord of time and he traverseth eternity; he is the aged one who reneweth his youth he hath multitudes of eyes and myriads of ears; his rays are the guides of millions of men he is the lord of life and giveth unto those who love him the whole earth, and they are under the protection of his face. When he goeth forth he worketh unopposed, and no man can make of none effect that which he hath done. His name is gracious, and the love of him is sweet; and at the dawn all people make supplication unto him through his mighty power and terrible strength, and every god lieth in fear of him. He is the young bull that destroyeth the wicked, and his strong arm fighteth against his foes. Through him did the earth come into being in the beginning. He is the Soul which shineth through his divine eyes,[3] he is the Being endowed with power and the maker of all that hath come into being, and he ordered the world, and he cannot be known. He is the King who maketh kings to reign, and he directeth the world in his course; gods and goddesses bow down in adoration before his Soul by reason of the awful terror which belongeth unto him. He hath gone before and hath stablished all that cometh after him, and he made the universe in the beginning by his secret counsels. He is the Being who cannot be known, and he is more hidden than all the gods. He maketh the Disk to be his vicar, and he himself cannot be known, and he hideth himself from that which cometh forth from him. He is a bright flame of fire, mighty in splendours, he can be seen only in the form in which he showeth himself, and he can be gazed upon only when he manifesteth himself, and that which is in him cannot be understood. At break of day all peoples make supplication unto him, and when he riseth with hues of orange and saffron among the company of the gods he becometh the greatly desired one of every god. The god Nu appeareth with the breath of the north wind in this hidden god who maketh for untold millions of men the decrees which abide for ever; his decrees

[1. Literally "his heart," ab-f.

2 I.e., Shu and Tefnut.

3 I.e., the Sun and the Moon, ut'ati.

4. nehep; other examples of the use of this word are given by Brugsch, Wörterbuch (Suppl., p. 690).]

{p. xcvii}

"are gracious and well doing, and they fall not to the ground until they have fulfilled their purpose. He giveth long life and multiplieth the years of those who are favoured by him, he is the gracious protector of him whom he setteth in his heart, and he is the fashioner of eternity and everlastingness. He is the king of the North and of the South, Amen-Ra, king of the gods, the lord of heaven, and of earth and of the waters and of the mountains, with whose coming into being the earth began its existence, the mighty one, more princely than all the gods of the first company thereof."

Theories of the origin of the gods.

With reference to the origin of the gods of the Egyptians much useful information may be derived from the pyramid texts. From them it would seem that, in the earliest times, the Egyptians had tried to think out and explain to themselves the origin of their gods and of their groupings. According to M. Maspero[1] they reduced everything to one kind of primeval matter which they believed contained everything in embryo; this matter was water, Nu, which they deified, and everything which arose therefrom was a god. The priests of Annu at a very early period grouped together the nine greatest gods of Egypt, forming what is called the paut neteru or "company of the gods," or as it is written in the pyramid texts, paut aat, "the great company of gods"; the texts also show that there was a second group of nine gods called paut net'eset or "lesser company of the gods"; and a third group of nine gods is also known. When all three pauts of gods are addressed they appear as ###.[2] The great cycle of the gods in Annu was composed of the gods Tmu, Shu, Tefnut, Seb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Set and Nephthys; but, though paut means " nine," the texts do not always limit a paut of the gods to that number, for sometimes the gods amount to twelve, and sometimes, even though the number be nine, other gods are substituted for the original gods of the paut. We should naturally expect Ra to stand at the head of the great paut of the gods; but it must be remembered that the chief local god of Annu was Tmu, and, as the priests of that city revised and edited the pyramid texts known to us, they naturally substituted their own form of the god Ra, or at best united him with Ra, and called him Tmu-Ra. In the primeval matter, or water, lived the god Tmu, and when he rose for the first time, in the form of the sun, he created the world. Here at once we have Tmu assimilated with Nu. A curious passage in the pyramid of Pepi I. shows that while as yet there was neither

[1. La Mythologie Égyptienne (Études, t. ii., p. 237).

2. See Pyramid of Teta, l. 307 (Maspero, Recueil de Travaux, t. v., p. 46).]

{p. xcviii}

heaven nor earth, and when neither gods had been born, nor men created, the god Tmu was the father of human beings,[1] even before death came into the world. The first act of Tmu was to create from his own body the god Shu and the goddess Tefnut;[2] and afterwards Seb the earth and Nut the sky came into being. These were followed by Osiris and Isis, Set and Nephthys.

Dr. Brugsch's version of the origin of the gods as put forth in his last work on the subject[3] is somewhat different. According to him there was in the beginning neither heaven nor earth, and nothing existed except a boundless primeval mass of water which was shrouded in darkness and which contained within itself the germs or beginnings, male and female, of everything which was to be in the future world. The divine primeval spirit which formed an essential part of the primeval matter felt within itself the desire to begin the work of creation, and its word woke to life the world, the form and shape of which it had already depicted to itself. The first act of creation began with the formation of an egg[4] out of the primeval water, from which broke forth Ra, the immediate cause of all life upon earth. The almighty power of the divine spirit embodied itself in its most brilliant form in the rising sun. When the inert mass of primeval matter felt the desire of the primeval spirit to begin the work of creation, it began to move, and the creatures which were to constitute the future world were formed

[1. Recueil de Travaux, t. viii., p. 104 (l. 664). The passage reads:--

mes Pepi pen au atf Tem an xepert pet an

Gave birth to Pepi this father Tmu [when] not was created heaven, not

xepert ta an xepert reth an mest neteru an xepert met

was created earth, not were created men, not were born the gods, not was created death.

2. Recueil de Travaux, I. vii., p. 170 (l. 466).

3. Religion und Mythologie, p. 101.

4 A number of valuable facts concerning the place of the egg in the Egyptian Religion have been collected by Lefébure, Revue de l'Histoire des Religions, t. xvi., Paris, 1887, p. 16 ff.]

{p. xcix}

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