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Author Topic: Prophecy in AE?  (Read 1748 times)

Offline Arienihethert

  • Tawy Bak
  • W'ab (priest)
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Prophecy in AE?
« on: May 15, 2012, 11:35:31 am »
The issue of prophecies was raised in another thread, and while it wasn't really relevant to the original post, I thought I'd move the conversation here, for those interested.

Quote from: Helmsman_of_Yinepu
Isn't there a late prophecy that says the Netjer will return/become more active when the papyrus returns to Egypt?

I'm not familiar with that prophecy, so I can't comment on it specifically. The fact that it's late period, however, makes it suspect IMO, because late period works often show a high degree of influence from other (especially Greek) sources. That's not a bad thing, but it makes it possible, if not likely that the thing in question is not really Kemetic. I especially take it with a grain of salt because Kemetic philosophy is much more focused on what-I'm-doing-now as opposed to what-might-wait-ahead. Even the works on the afterlife assume that a person carries on in the duat much like they did in life, which does not seem very prophecy-like to me.

And I'm not sure why we need the gods to "come back" since we interact with them plenty here and now (no separation from them as a punishment for sin here, last I checked), and we get to hang out with them in an even more intimate fashion after death.

There are also a number of prophecies written in the ancient literature, but many of them seem to have been written after the fact.

Again, I haven't seen these writings you refer to, but I'd be interested to read them for myself. I'm not sure what you mean by literature (wisdom literature, temple inscriptions, or more entertainment-oriented literature), but if a thing is written down after the fact, I wouldn't consider that to be a prophecy. Anyone can write anything down and say it was foretold, and this seems to have been used IIRC as a tool for legitimizing what was already done, not for directing future action.

I don't think there's a big end-of-the-world millennial focus on things as there is in some religions.

About the only thing that comes to mind is this:

"What is the lifetime of life?” asks Osiris.

Atum replies: “Thou art destined for millions of millions of years, a lifetime of millions of years. I have caused that he (thy successor) send out the elders. And I will destroy all that I have made. I shall survive together with Osiris, after I have assumed my forms of other snakes which men know not and gods know not.” – Book of the Dead, spell 175 “Spell for Not Dying Again”

The dead are referred to as ‘Osiris’ in the funerary literature, so it’s thought that this spell means that humans spirit can continue after the end of the universe. It also implies that the "end" isn't coming very soon.

I see that as more of a discourse on the layers of cycles, and the idea that there's always something after the end of a thing. That's not to say it's NOT an end-of-the-world thing, just that even if it is so, that doesn't seem to be the focus of the spell or the document as a whole, and our general lack of significant, religion-wide prophecies does not make me think that this was intended to be read as such. Of course the world's going to end--everything and everyone ends. But it's not that big a deal (philosophically, anyway) because there's something after that. (Note: my copy of the BoD is the Faulkner translation, which says that it's Ani-identified-as-Ani who asks the question, which may or may not mean anything to anyone.)

YMMV, and all that.
Look out the window. And doesn't this remind you of when you were in the boat, and then later that night you were lying looking up at the ceiling, and the water in your head was not dissimilar from the landscape, and you think to yourself Why is it that the landscape is moving but the boat is still?


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