Thursday, December 25, 2014

Bonus 30 - Destruction of Mankind

A scene from the Book of the Heavenly Cow as depicted in the tomb of
Seti I, East Valley of the Kings location KV17. It depicts the sky goddess
Nut in her bovine form, being held up by her father Shu, the god of the air.
Aiding Shu are the eight gods of the Ogdoad. Across the belly of Nut
(representing the visible sky) sails the sun god in his day barque.
Public Domain. Photo by Edward Piercy
The sky goddess Nut depicted as a cow
and supported by the eight Heh gods.
E. A. Wallis Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, vol. 1
(London, U.K.: Methuen & Company, 1904), 368. Public Domain
The Destruction of Mankind (also called The Book of the Cow of Heaven) Papyrus, inscribed on the tomb walls of Seti I, Ramesses II, and Ramesses III, describes Hathor’s divine punishment of Egyptians with the foreigners, who survive the suffering, separated from Ra to live on the back of Nut, the heavenly cow.1.   The parallels with the Exodus story are striking and Erik Hornung, in his German translation, finds a “startling” name for Ra that has Exodus parallels.
Evidently [it] means “I am I” or “I am that I am” [Egyptian root Yawi ]. Since in the given context it must mean: “... as whom I have proven to be” ..., the phrase indeed recalls the Old Testament: see Exodus 3:14 “I am that I am” .... What is here of interest is of course the early [ancient] theology [surrounding] God’s name YHWH, but not its origin and actual etymology [Trans. Brad Sparks]. 2.
Griffiths confirms Hornung’s translation of The Destruction of Mankind text, declaring:
since the meaning I am I seems the only one possible. Here it is rendered Ich bin, der ich bin, with a startling invocation by Fecht (p. 125) of Exodus 3:14 (I AM THAT I AM, or I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE). The Hebrew is concerned with the meaning of the name Yahweh; the Egyptian context, as Fecht shows, relates to the sun-god’s claim: he is what he has shown himself to be – the successful queller of men’s mutiny, and so able to say in the following verse, I will not allow them to make (a revolt).3. 

KV17: Seti I's tomb.
Photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
Public Domain
Sparks reports that in addition to the “I am that I am” texts, he also discovered further parallels from the tomb painting of Seti I, 1300 BC:
Checking the tomb of Seti I for example, I discovered “similar content” documents with color pictures of the Exodus - the parting of the Red Sea and the mass drowning of the Egyptian army. 4.  
 Footnotes
  • 1. Erik Hornung, Der ägyptische Mythos von der Himmelskuh: Eine Atiologie des Unvollkommenen, Orbis biblicus et orientalis 46 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1982); E. A. Wallis Budge, Legends of the Gods The Egyptian Texts, Edited with Translations (London, U.K.: Kegan Paul, Trench and Trubner & Co. Ltd., 1912).
  • 2. Seti I, KV 17, chamber Je, line 49. Hornung, Der ägyptische Mythos von der Himmelskuh, 63 n.121, 125 n.aa.
  • 3. J. Gwyn Griffiths, “Review of Der Ägyptische Mythos von Der Himmelskuh. Eine Ätiologie Des Unvollkommenen by Erik Hornung,” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 74 (January 1, 1988): 276.
  • 4. Brad C. Sparks, “Egyptian Text Parallels to the Exodus: The Egyptology Literature,” in Out of Egypt: Israel’s Exodus Between Text and Memory, History and Imagination Conference, ed. Thomas E. Levy (presented at the Qualcomm Institute, University of California, San Diego, 2013); Erik Hornung, The Tomb of Pharaoh Seti I (Zürich: Artemis & Winkler, 1991).

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