The Ancient Egyptian Book of Thoth: A Demotic Discourse on Knowledge and Pendant to the Classical Hermetica, Volume 1

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Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005 - History - 581 pages
The composition, which the editors entitle the "Book of Thoth", is preserved on over forty Graeco-Roman Period papyri from collections in Berlin, Copenhagen, Florence, New Haven, Paris, and Vienna. The central witness is a papyrus of fifteen columns in the Berlin Museum. Written almost entirely in the Demotic script, the Book of Thoth is probably the product of scribes of the "House of Life", the temple scriptorium. It comprises largely a dialogue between a deity, usually called "He-who-praises-knowledge" (presumably Thoth himself) and a mortal, "He-who-loves-knowledge". The work covers such topics as the scribal craft, sacred geography, the underworld, wisdom, prophecy, animal knowledge, and temple ritual. Particularly remarkable is one section (the "Vulture Text") in which each of the 42 nomes of Egypt is identified with a vulture. The language is poetic; the lines are often clearly organized into verses. The subject-matter, dialogue structure, and striking phraseology raise many issues of scholarly interest; especially intriguing are the possible connections between this Egyptian work, in which Thoth is called "thrice-great", and the classical Hermetic Corpus, in which Hermes Trismegistos plays the key role. The first volume comprises interpretative essays, discussion of specific points such as the manuscript tradition, script, and language. The core of the publication is the transliteration of the Demotic text, translation, and commentary. A consecutive translation, glossary, bibliography, and indices conclude the first volume. The second volume contains photographs of the papyri, almost all of which reproduce their original size.
 

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Contents

Preliminary Essays on the Book of Thoth
1
Overview of the Book of Thoth
3
Thoth
9
Mrrh Theonewholovesknowledge or Hewhowishestolearn
13
Wpytpitf Hehasjudged namely theonewhoisuponhisback
15
Imhotep
17
Seshat
19
Other Deities and Festivals Mentioned in the Book of Thoth
23
Plants and Minerals
50
Sacred Geography
51
Initiation and Mysticism
54
Knowledge
61
Hermetic and Greek Interaction as Reflected in the Book of Thoth
65
Purpose cf Composition and the Place of the Book of Thoth within the Egyptian Literary Tradition
72
Discussion of the Papyri and Text of the Book of Thoth
79
Orthography
88

The Souls of Re and the Sacred Books
27
The Prophet sti
29
The Wnimi
31
The Craftsman Am
32
The Assistant hryr hiyrt
33
Chamber of Darkness r tkky
36
Animals
38
Transliteration and Translation of the Book of Thoth with Commentary
139
Consecutive Translation
441
Addenda
473
Glossary
497
Bibliography
551
List of Texts Cited
569
Copyright

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