collapse collapse

* Donation Status

8%
Current donation status as of October 30, 2021 = $211.74 of $2,500 or 8%
Donate!

* User Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 40
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 0

There aren't any users online.

Author Topic: What is the root meaning of the Egyptian word for God, NTR?  (Read 34950 times)

Offline rakovsky

  • Country: us
What is the root meaning of the Egyptian word for God, NTR?
« on: August 13, 2016, 07:05:53 pm »
What do you think Egypt's word for God meant in its roots or etymology?

As you may know, the gods were sometimes equated with stars in Egyptian myths. The symbol for the word god in hieroglyphics was a flag, and Egyptians had flags outside their temples to show their gods' or god's presence. The flag sign brings to mind the Asheroh poles in Judaism and the jhandhi flags in Hinduism.

See the photo here:
http://www.joanannlansberry.com/fotoart/oim/hwt-ntr.png

Egyptians thought that the pharaohs were gods or embodiments of Horus, and they thought that the blessed dead went to heaven and became gods. The sign for God was also sometimes a falcon ("horus")  sitting on a ledge. Ra and Horus and Montu were depicted as falcon-headed and were major deities. Mummies were purified and embalmed with Natron, a derived word, which is found as Sodium carbonate in the desert. The gods were called Neteru, gods.

One theory has been that NTR meant growth, renewing life, rebirth. Hornung cited some French scholars to that effect.

In case you can read Spanish, a summary is here:
Egiptosophia: Relectura del mito al logos
By Octavi Piulats Riu, pp. 44-47:

https://books.google.com/books?id=o3Zy1LJ_qvYC&pg=PA45&dq=hornung+neter+OR+ntr+OR+netjer&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjek57b9LLOAhVh6YMKHcc4BqEQ6AEIMTAD#v=onepage&q=hornung%20neter%20OR%20ntr%20OR%20netjer&f=false

It brings to mind "Nurturing". I heard egyptian used to use L as the letter/sound for R, so in one theory it used to be pronounced NTL instead of NTR. This brings to mind the Latin Natalis (birth).

Another theory is that NTR means nature, element, principle.
Francisco Tomás Verdú Vicente talks about the Egyptologist E. Budge's view on this in the journal MEDICINA NATURISTA, 2011; Vol. 5 - N.º 2: 80-81:
•       Wallis Budge, the great Egyptologist that he was, recognized something fundamental about the word natura: "Another definition of the word [NTR], given by Brugsch, means 'active energy that produces and creates things regular recurrence; which gives them new life and gives them back their youthful vigor' and adds that the innate concept of the word completely covers the φυσιζ original meaning of the Greek word and Latin natura.

A third theory is my own guess - that NTR is related to "heavens."
I know that Chinese, Indo-Europeans, Proto-Turkics, and Sumerians all used similar words for god: Tien, Dyeus, Tengri, Dingir, respectively. And each word meant not only God but sky, day, heavens, or brightness.

Turning to Egyptian, we find that it uses a major set of gods relating to the heavens with a sound similar to NTR. These are the primordial heavenly waters Nunet, the heavens goddess Nut, and the unseen heavens' goddess Neith. I think these words are related probably.

A fourth theory is that it means something pure.
The objects that had holy or divine things were ritually purified. There were "pure" and "divine" tools used to prepare the NTR objects (like a mummy).

Egyptologist, V. Tobin, writes in Theological principles of Egyptian religion:   
•       The Egyptian term for 'god', ntr, (Coptic noute), provides no real indication of the basic meaning of the Egyptian concept of deity.    ...    pure. Following [one theory], one might argue that the term ntr, when used of a deity, designated his or her purity, singleness or perfection. Such an interpretation of the term ntr, however, must remain no more than speculation...

But I don't have the rest of what he wrote.

The best avenue that I would pursue in addition to these ideas would be to look for common root words in the Cush-ite, Chadic, and Berber languages,
since they are related to Egyptian and have some of the same root words. I read that T used to be a K and R used to be an L, so we could look for roots in those other languages like "NKL" and "NTR."

Offline Senuwierneheh

  • Shemsu-Ankh
  • Country: us
Re: What is the root meaning of the Egyptian word for God, NTR?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2016, 08:17:38 pm »
Em Hotep!

The words in the linked image say:
"The sign for hwt-ntr/hewet netcher, meaning 'god's house' or 'temple' is composed of the flagpole symbol (representing the flagpoles that decorated temples), together with a rectanglur enclosure." (From _Decoding Egyptian Hieroglyphs_, by Bridget McDermott)

The word for 'god' is this flagpole. But I am thinking, it is Not the flagpole and flag, it is the invisible Power which moves that flag that is the concept of 'God'.  Certainly the Netjeru are "active energies",  and of "nurturing" "nature", yet they are more than that.

(From _The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt_, by Richard Wilkinson, page 94)
"As the god 'who exists in all things' and the one in whom all gods were subsumed, Amun came particularly close to being a kind of monotheistic deity (see page 38) and was sometimes revered the the ba or soul of all natural phenomena."

Putting it that way, Amun might be the Ba for all the Names, the various Kau of Netjer. 

You've posed a very interesting question, Rakovsky!

I'm sure others will have intriguing ideas, as well.

Senebty,
Neheh...


Senuwierneheh (My Two, forever)
Sat Hethert-Sekhmet her Set, meryt Ptah-Sokar-Wesir, Djehuty, her Heru-Wer
Self-care Hethert, Set and Ptah Advocate
𓁥 𓁣 𓁰

Offline Saymari

  • Shemsu
  • Country: us
Re: What is the root meaning of the Egyptian word for God, NTR?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2016, 09:50:33 pm »
As an avid lover of language and philosophy it very interesting to see this topic----I can't wait to see what everyone else weighs in.
From what I always understood the name roughly translated to "nature" and thus the netjeru themselves represent a part of nature itself. The shape I once found tell was actually suppose to be some sort of blunt ceremonial axe that represented power, although to me that flag make leagues more sense.
The hawk I always read was representation of the hawk god was connected with solar power and thus life because of course they were always seen flying in the air and was considered a powerful regal creature.
Another interesting expansion I would think would be into the hieroglyph for netjeret which is specifically connected with the various female divine and took the form of a cobra. From what I understand this connects back to the figure of the Wadjet and it's protective prowress

But I am nothing but a learner and I am really really more interested in what other people have to say I know I could be rather off. ^_^ So take it with a grain of salt
On an eternal search for the truth with occasional stops for snacks and site seeing.

Hey guys, I am trying to get some practice with some oracle work. Anyone who wants a reading please feel free to message me ^_^

Offline rakovsky

  • Country: us
Re: What is the root meaning of the Egyptian word for God, NTR?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2016, 12:51:09 pm »
Em Hotep!

The words in the linked image say:
"The sign for hwt-ntr/hewet netcher, meaning 'god's house' or 'temple' is composed of the flagpole symbol (representing the flagpoles that decorated temples), together with a rectanglur enclosure." (From _Decoding Egyptian Hieroglyphs_, by Bridget McDermott)

The word for 'god' is this flagpole. But I am thinking, it is Not the flagpole and flag, it is the invisible Power which moves that flag that is the concept of 'God'.  Certainly the Netjeru are "active energies",  and of "nurturing" "nature", yet they are more than that.

(From _The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt_, by Richard Wilkinson, page 94)
"As the god 'who exists in all things' and the one in whom all gods were subsumed, Amun came particularly close to being a kind of monotheistic deity (see page 38) and was sometimes revered the the ba or soul of all natural phenomena."
Neheh,

Would you happen to have the books by Hornung ("The Conception of God"), Tobin, or would you know what Wilkinson says about the etymology of NTR, if anything?

Offline rakovsky

  • Country: us
Re: What is the root meaning of the Egyptian word for God, NTR?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2016, 12:59:36 pm »
As an avid lover of language and philosophy it very interesting to see this topic----I can't wait to see what everyone else weighs in.
From what I always understood the name roughly translated to "nature" and thus the netjeru themselves represent a part of nature itself. The shape I once found tell was actually suppose to be some sort of blunt ceremonial axe that represented power, although to me that flag make leagues more sense.
An axe and flag look the same when drawn, but they are very different objects. Maybe they originally drew a flag but over time (centuries) they were not sure what exactly it was meant as and so they began to interpret it as an axe and thus drew it as both. I don't know. It kind of looks like a backwards P.


Quote
The hawk I always read was representation of the hawk god was connected with solar power and thus life because of course they were always seen flying in the air and was considered a powerful regal creature.
Yes, I think that maybe in some sense for them Falcon (Horus) and Ra (as a falcon shown) were quintessential gods, that is, the main god they thought of as God Himself.  For example, the pharaoh was an embodiment of Horus and a son of Ra.

And so in that scheme, the falcon is a symbol of God.

Quote

Another interesting expansion I would think would be into the hieroglyph for netjeret which is specifically connected with the various female divine and took the form of a cobra. From what I understand this connects back to the figure of the Wadjet and it's protective prowress
Is the female word for a female goddess a cobra in hieroglyphics?
I know that the Ogdoad showed the female gods in the Ogdoad sometimes as snakes and the males as frogs.

In Babylonian/Sumerian mythology I think Tiamat and Nammu were shown as primordial snake goddesses of the primordial waters, whereas the main "God" (Marduk or An) was shown as a man.

Offline rakovsky

  • Country: us
Re: What is the root meaning of the Egyptian word for God, NTR?
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2016, 01:16:19 pm »
As an avid lover of language and philosophy it very interesting to see this topic----I can't wait to see what everyone else weighs in.
Normally we would look at root words in a language, but the scholars havent given us a root word in Egyptian for NTR or explained the grammar of why a word would look like N-T-R.
So I think Nut/Neith/Nunet is probably a basis for NTR or related, but I don't know how grammatically the word changed into NTR. Do you know what I mean?

Another way scholars look for etymology is to see what the root word is in a base language. So to see an English word's roots they might look to French, Latin, Norse, or Germanic root words.

So in the case of NTR an Egyptian word, they might look to see if there are AfroAsiatic words (Hebrew, Akkadian, Assyrian, but especially: Cush-ite, Chadic, Berber). We should really ask some specialists in those specific African languages what they see as a root word using NTR, NTL, NKL that supposedly are the roots possible for NTR.

I found a webpage called The De-agglutination and Agglutination of the Emblem of Divinity NTJR, NTR. The essay talks about the meaning in light of other African words.
http://www.kaa-umati.co.uk/god_ntr.htm
The main downside I see is that it includes "non-Afroasiatic" African languages in its count. So it uses Niger Congo words that are a major different family than Egyptian.

Offline Saymari

  • Shemsu
  • Country: us
Re: What is the root meaning of the Egyptian word for God, NTR?
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2016, 10:02:45 pm »
I am glad to see some responses to the subject.
And yes I have seen in several resources where the word for feminine divine is sited as a curled Cobra and my understanding of the reason behind this is the association either with the cobra goddess Wadjet or with the protective power of the creature known as the ureaus (sp) which were both also associated with the solar concept and the pharohood in their own right (Wadjet being a protect of either crown of the north or the crown of the south as well as a daughter of RA and an eye of Ra and the Ureasus being from my understanding some form of protective divine creature whom is sometimes also site as a crown of netjer and associated with their authority)
To me, this makes because most of the goddesses are some form of protector thus their symbol being associated with the protector of the creator god makes perfect sense on a spiritual and gnosis level.
I am unsure of the relation with the goddess known as Tiamat but since Sumeria is close by and is cited a creator of language I think it could be possible but it seems like a stretch given what I know about Tiamat (which is next to nada) She is a very destructive and dark goddess of chaos and that is kind of seen as----well undesirable, opposite of ma'at---- I think it is probably not very likely a resource. Though I never claim to be an expert at anything at this time.
Heiroglypic language is just so ripe with symbolism given the fact we have individual symbols for words and the alphabetical spelling


But I am sort of off topic >.>
On an eternal search for the truth with occasional stops for snacks and site seeing.

Hey guys, I am trying to get some practice with some oracle work. Anyone who wants a reading please feel free to message me ^_^

Offline rakovsky

  • Country: us
Re: What is the root meaning of the Egyptian word for God, NTR?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2016, 12:28:20 am »
Some scholars of Egyptian language say that the answer could be found in a language in the same family as the Egyptian = the Afroasiatic languages. These include:
Chadic languages like Nancere, Gabri, Kera, Tobanga, Dangaléat and Mubi.
Cushite languages like Beja/Bedawi, Agaw, Sidamic, Saho-Safar, Somali
Berber languages like Tanfusit and Tuareg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/24/Hamito-Semitic_languages.jpg/300px-Hamito-Semitic_languages.jpg

Scholars say that originally the African communities that Egyptians came from pronounced K and L where ancient Egyptians later pronounced T and R. So these scholars say that NTR used to be pronounced by their African ancestors as NKR.

It would be helpful to see if specialists in African studies would know if the native Chadic, Berber, or Cush-ite languages have word roots with a series of consonants like NTR, NKL, NTL, and NKR.

Offline Senuwierneheh

  • Shemsu-Ankh
  • Country: us
Senuwierneheh (My Two, forever)
Sat Hethert-Sekhmet her Set, meryt Ptah-Sokar-Wesir, Djehuty, her Heru-Wer
Self-care Hethert, Set and Ptah Advocate
𓁥 𓁣 𓁰

Offline Saymari

  • Shemsu
  • Country: us
Re: What is the root meaning of the Egyptian word for God, NTR?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2016, 06:28:59 am »
OMG Wikimedia the puns I love them
Also YAY! Study material
On an eternal search for the truth with occasional stops for snacks and site seeing.

Hey guys, I am trying to get some practice with some oracle work. Anyone who wants a reading please feel free to message me ^_^

Offline rakovsky

  • Country: us
Re: What is the root meaning of the Egyptian word for God, NTR?
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2016, 01:54:05 am »
OMG Wikimedia the puns I love them
What are the puns you mean?

Offline rakovsky

  • Country: us
Re: What is the root meaning of the Egyptian word for God, NTR?
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2016, 02:34:27 am »
I researched root words in Afro-Asiatic languages and want to give you the best answer.

“NTR” can be a holy object, god, deceased person, pharaoh, or holy animal, and it can be written as a flagpole or hawk. However, I think the root of NTR does not mean any of those things exactly.

The primary meaning seems to me to be "An Animated Being", with associated meanings being living, marveling, shimmering, shining, moving, rising up, shaking. I say this because such meanings kept coming up across the Afro-Asiatic languages in NTR/NKL words, and because that seems to be the root meaning of Natron, which effervesces with acids like vinegar. The chemical Natron is not only pronounced and written the same way in Egyptian as NTR/Nether/Netjer (god), but it was used in embalming mummies whose spirits were considered to become gods.

I listed root words in Semitic, Chadic, Cush-ite, and Berber languages in my paper that you can download here:
http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=18189796509680718524

One of the rules I followed was to remember that ancient Egyptians' African ancestors said K and L sometimes where ancient Egyptians later said T and R. So I looked for root words with NTR/NKL/NKR.

An major related association seemed to be water, especially flowing water like irrigation, a river, or rain, but also things like a water container. Along with the ideas of a stream and shimmering can be daylight and burning, respectively. The idea of woven fabric may be related too, as might the idea of something being unknown/foreign/scrutinized. Lesser possible associations could be a watcher or guardian, sheep or goat, mighty tree (as in sacred trees), to exist, "he that is". /i still think that there could be an association with the sky/heavens.

When you open the file you can see which of those meanings I mentioned above go with which foreign words.

I am inclined to think that it's not a coincidence that numerous Nile-Congo words have NTR in their name for god or in related words, even though they are in a different language family than Egyptian. And I think it's probably not a coincidence that Indo-European, Sumerian, proto-Turkic and Chinese seem to have variations on the phonetic pattern of N-T/D-R, even though those four languages all seem to have words that mean God and heaven, whereas Egypt's word for God (NTR) doesn't seem to particularly mean the heavens.

One commonality I see is the idea of something shining, bright or shimmering that we find in Amharic and in Tengri/Dingir/Dyeus. In Amharic (a language of Ethiopia), we find:
  • natara (Ist meaning), natra - scintillate, sparkle, glare, shimmer, flash, be seen.
    natr, netr - gleam, sparkle, splendor, glimmer, flash, lightning. (netra mabraq - flash of lightning).
    Arabic nadura - be brilliant, be radiant.
    Ethiopic . Te. natra sparkle, scintillate. Tna. natara spurt out. 

    natran – natron [the Egyptians' chemical Natron]
SOURCE: Comparative dictionary of Geez

Offline rakovsky

  • Country: us
Re: What is the root meaning of the Egyptian word for God, NTR?
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2016, 11:22:14 am »
Etymologically, Egyptians using NTR as the name for god is curious and unique.

Following a conservative approach, I believe that one should look to Afroasiatic languages and find that NTR is based in Semitic NTR / Berber NKR, meaning to agitate, shake, rise up, as in the property of the reactive cleansing agent Natron. Perhaps they imagined that Natron was a divine substance because it cleanses and effervesces, and they used it for embalming their mummies. This root idea of NTR does match Budge's understanding of it as an enlivening substance, and it matches the Hebrew etymology of the chemical Natron (Hebrew Nether), from Nathar (to shake, agitate). Let me say in passing that several Egyptologists like AK Eyma instead relate NTR to the Arabic/Hebrew Nakir/Nekar, meaning a stranger, denier.

Here is the latest copy of my notes, which talk about this:
http://s000.tinyupload.com/download.php?file_id=91322746929117951507&t=9132274692911795150762381


Yet this is still a curious situation. Following Afroasiatic languages, one would expect the word for god to be different, particularly like Berber Il, Hebrew/Mesopotamian El (or with the Arabs - Allah), Amharic MLK (Lord). With the Chadic languages there is Bun, and in a few cases - Naan, and Ra.(bringing to mind for me Nun and Ra of Egypt). One might expect the word to mean sky (like Bun) or king (like Amharic Melek). But the Egyptians picked none of those and instead chose a word reflecting the chemical Natron and the root about shaking. And not only that, but unlike Semitic or Berber, Egyptian as far as I know doesn't have NT words meaning to shake or agitate, outside maybe NTR itself (if you accept that this is the root).

Of course, every culture has a right to pick whatever word roots they want, and so it's unreasonable for them to do this, just unique and curious.

And here is another curious fact - if one looks instead to the pattern across major ancient civilizations or language families, one would in fact expect a word that sounds like NT or NTR. In Sumerian, ProtoTurkic, Chinese, and Indo-European, we have Dingir, Tengri, Tien, and Dyeus, respectively, all which also mean heaven and some or all of which also mean day or bright- the particular god in those cases being male. And even in many East Chadic languages (in the same family as Egyptian and Semitic), the word for God doubles as a word for sky (Bun). Turning to Egypt based on those other major language families' pattern, we would expect a male God to have a name sounding like NT or NTR and meaning sky/ heaven and maybe day.

And indeed we do find a word that sounds like this pattern - NTR. And yet here is what is curious - the Egyptians were unique in (or at least rare for) the ancient world in making their main sky deity a female and their main earth god a male. And NTR as a word does not mean sky or day. Instead, the word for sky is Nut, with the sky gods being Nut, Neith, and Nunet, and the main "day god" being Ra. And yet curiously again, these gods do sound like parts of the word NTR. In fact, the river that Ra rides each day in the underworld Duat - bear in mind that his daily ride around the world above and below is a key concept in Egyptian mythology - is called Net-Ra (literally water/river of Ra, I think).

So in other words, unlike our expectations based ont he pattern, we don't find a word in the form of NT or NTR meaning heaven, day, and god(a male). Instead, we find NTR meaning god, NT meaning the female god of the heavens, and Ra, the male god of the day, whose daily interaction (Ra going through or riding along NT) is a key part of Egyptian mythology.

Personally, I have a sense that the Egyptians at some point in the predynastic/prehistoric era saw this same correlation of NT and Ra and that this was related to the word NTR (maybe why they chose NTR to mean God). Maybe they even chose NT to mean the sky based on this. But following conservative reasoning, I think that it would all be considered a coincidence of phonetics and meanings.


 


* Board Stats

  • stats Total Members: 3496
  • stats Total Posts: 304030
  • stats Total Topics: 21099
  • stats Total Categories: 9
  • stats Total Boards: 124
  • stats Most Online: 955
SimplePortal 2.3.6 © 2008-2014, SimplePortal