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The Role of Creative Words in Ancient Egyptian Religious Thought

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Abstract This paper presents an analytical study of the role of creative words in ancient Egyptian religious thought. Magic was considered to be a creative word. Also, the word of God was penetrative; because the world was created by seven words spoken consecutively by the creator, and every word spoken by the gods was considered to be penetrative. Puns were among the most preferable expressions by the gods, as any sentence or expression used by the god -concerning a given place or creature- gave it a name and, subsequently, a concrete reality; and this was one of the ways often used by the creator. A certain reality emerged from every oral conversation spoken by the gods, whoever they were. Similar to words, writing entailed a magical power. Knowing the power of the word, the god Djhwty is able to transfer anything into any image he wanted. Djhwty is not the real creator, but he works on the permanence of knowledge, as he was considered the gods' memory which records words and allows the creator himself to be aware of all the existence. While the creator knows about the future, Djhwty gained a non mistaken vision from this knowledge thanks to his records. The exchange of knowledge between him and the god of gods made him an intermediary between godly knowledge and the knowledge that he suggests and the one he takes. Djhwty is not only the deity that 'has the powerful insight' (si3), but also which 'knows everything' (rh), as he receives the former and transmits the latter. And he who records, saves and spreads the knowledge between gods and humans. Finally, writing is considered to be the medium for such transmission, i.e. a means of transmitting the knowledge (rḫ).

10.1163/2213860909X00154
/content/journals/10.1163/2213860909x00154
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/content/journals/10.1163/2213860909x00154
2009-01-01
2016-12-11

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