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Ancient egyptian prophecy - is there any?

 
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Lost Pharaoh
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:18 am    Post subject: Ancient egyptian prophecy - is there any? Reply with quote

During my work I came to the word which translation include "prophets", and momentaly in my mind poped up a question - Is there any written prophecy in ancient egyptian texts, so something what would happen in near or far future?

Thank you in advance.
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neseret
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Ancient egyptian prophecy - is there any? Reply with quote

Lost Pharaoh wrote:
During my work I came to the word which translation include "prophets", and momentaly in my mind poped up a question - Is there any written prophecy in ancient egyptian texts, so something what would happen in near or far future?

Thank you in advance.


The most well-known of Egyptian "prophecies" is the Prophecy of Neferti, which is a prolepsis - that is assigning of a person, event, etc., to a period earlier than the actual one; the representation of something in the future as if it already existed or had occurred.

In the prophecy of Neferti, assigned as being created during the 12th Dynasty reign of Amenemhat I, it "foretells" the coming of a king who would be called "Ameny" who would acts as a saviour to all of Egypt. Since it is written during the 12th Dynasty, Egyptologists tend to view such "prophecies" as justifications of kings, who normally would not have been considered in line for succession, to imply their rule was announced prior to their talking the throne, and justified by oracular pronouncements.

Amenemhat was just such a king: formerly the vizier to Montuhotep IV, Amenemhat took over the throne when the latter died without issue, thus forming a new dynasty.

Similar "oracular/prophetic" announcements also served such kings as Thutmose I, Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, Thutmose IV, Tutankhamun, Horemheb, and Ramses I and his descendants.

Apocalyptic prophecies, denoting a disaster to occur in the future, are also examples of prolepses, where such "prophecies" are written during times where the Egyptians were ruled by foreign rulers, and these prophecies were created to basically explain that some fault or sin of the Egyptian people led to them being ruled by foreign powers. These type of "prophecies" are discussed in detail in the following publications:

Blasius, A. and B. U. Schipper, Eds. 2002. Apokalyptik und Ägypten: Eine kritische Analyse der relevanten Texte aus dem griechisch-römischen Ägypten. OLA 107. Leuven: Peeters.

Redford, D. B. 1986. Pharaonic King-lists, Annals and Day-books: A Contribution to the Study of the Egyptian Sense of History. SSEA Publication IV.Mississauga: Benben Publications.

As to "oracular/prophetic" announcements being used to justify reigns of non-hereditary kings, see:

Goedicke, H. 1977. The Protocol of Neferyt (The Prophecy of Neferti). John Hopkins Near Eastern Studies. Baltimore/London: John Hopkins University Press.

Murnane, W. J. 1990. The Road to Kadesh: A Historical Interpretation of the Battle Reliefs of King Sety I at Karnak. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilizations. SAOC 42.Chicago: Oriental Institute.

Proleptic "pronouncements" of a 'future' king (i.e., the present king) who saves Egypt from falling into ruin becomes so common a feature of ruling kings, it is almost de rigeur by the Late Period.

HTH.
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Lost Pharaoh
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you nesert for great explanation and sources. So there are no prophecies as end of the world, change of time and etc. Razz Just kidding. I didn't know about that kind of prophecies and there's existence. I will read more about that. It's sounds interesting Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To match the theme...

"Seeing the Future, Watching the Past : Prophecies in Ancient Egypt"

Dr Jose-Ramon Perez-Accino

Date : Saturday 21st February 2015; 2.30pm
Place : Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL
Costs : £3 members, £5 non-members

Info : <Chairegscotland@yahoo.co.uk>
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Lost Pharaoh
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Lutz. It is pity that I don't live in Britain to get to that course.
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dzama923
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Tutankhamen's tomb, the book of The Heavenly Cow, sounds a little prophetic to me. It is a story of the rebellion and destruction of mankind.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which part of this mythological work exactly would you call "prophetic"?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds to me, like a story of divine creation and retribution. The sun god Re creating the world, and providing for it, like the heavenly cow. Then the humans live within it, but they traitorous, so they must slain. To me this is prophetic, in that, it is a warning, to live in balance and according to the rules of the Gods, or else you will be slain. It may not be a specific prophecy of events that will happen in the future, but I think the story would serve as a warning to mankind, that the Gods exist, and are omnipotent. As such, they should be listened to.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This reply should be taken with a pinch, dose even, of salt, but it's difficult not to notice that this litany should appear in this form on the outer shrine of Tutankhamun, the son, give or take Smenkhare, of a man who "rebelled" against the gods. Though in this off the top of my head context, it's debatable if Akhenaten rebelled against Ra as he was all part and parcel, in general terms, with the Aten.
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dzama923 wrote:
... To me this is prophetic, in that, it is a warning, to live in balance and according to the rules of the Gods, or else you will be slain. ...

With this justification almost every ancient Egyptian mythological text can be explained as prophetic ?!
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Montuhotep88
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prophecy isn't necessarily a forecast of things to come... a prophet is simply someone who is speaking for a god. It could be about the future, but more often is a commentary on the present state of affairs (usually a negative commentary).
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Montuhotep88 wrote:
Prophecy isn't necessarily a forecast of things to come... a prophet is simply someone who is speaking for a god. ...

Egyptologists, but also religion scientists generally, see it a bit differently ... "Lexikon der Ägyptologie" (Vol. IV, 1982, Col. 1122) :
Quote:
Proplıetie; äg. sr, Terminus, der als das Voraussehen und Verkünden zukünftiger Ereignisse verstanden wird. Als religiöses Phänomen wird sie
generell mit dem Juden- und Christentum verbunden, doch ist sie Bestandteil sowohl alter als auch neuer Religionen. ...

Google-Translator :
Quote:
Prophecy; Egyptian. sr, term understood as foreseeing and announcing future events. As a religious phenomenon it is generally associated with Jewish and Christianity, but it is part of both, old and new religions. ...

In my view, it makes discussions difficult to impossible if everyone tinkers his own private definition for concepts ...
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lutz wrote:
In my view, it makes discussions difficult to impossible if everyone tinkers his own private definition for concepts ...


I'm not interested in arguing about it, but it was a point stressed in my Old Testament classes. Biblical prophets were, by and large, criticizing current affairs and warning of consequences, rather than simply fortune-telling.
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Montuhotep88 wrote:
Lutz wrote:
In my view, it makes discussions difficult to impossible if everyone tinkers his own private definition for concepts ...

I'm not interested in arguing about it, but it was a point stressed in my Old Testament classes. Biblical prophets were, by and large, criticizing current affairs and warning of consequences, rather than simply fortune-telling.

But here in this topic we are not discussing biblical prophecy, but ancient Egyptian, right?
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are missing my point, which is what is the definition of the word "prophecy." Perhaps the equivalent German word does not have the same nuances or connotations as it does in English, but in common English usage, "prophecy" is almost invariably concerned with a foretelling of future events, which is a misunderstanding of the roles of ancient prophets-- the most familiar of these to an English-speaking audience being the biblical ones. But that foretelling connotation is one based in misunderstanding.

So what I am disputing here is the exact meaning of the term "prophecy" in contemporary English usage.

To my awareness, Egyptian thought through most of the pharaonic period did not conceive of an impending doom or ending of the world; the world was seen more in terms of cycles. The only Egyptian 'prophecy' in the sense of a foretelling that I am personally aware of is that referenced in Manetho and possibly other very late sources, the "prophecy of the lamb." There may be more obscure ones that I have not encountered.
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