4 Comments

  1. Another great post Bryce. I look forward to your next post in this series.

    Bryce said: “This is not to be interpreted as an adoption of pagan rites, plagiarism of ancient rituals, or a belief in Egyptian polytheism, for the Egyptians had a corrupt imitation of the true order of God, and Joseph knew it. “

    Your point is taken, and well advised. But may I explore this a little more with you?

    I wonder if in an attempt to avoid looking like we are adopting Egyptian – pagan rites, and mixing our religion with apostate philosophies, we let the pendulum swing too far the other way, tagging anything with a hieroglyphic on it as apostate? I complete understand and accept the fact that the descendants of Ham had an apostate religion and imitated the true order of things. But was this always the case?

    Was the Book of Abraham authored by an apostate cult? Yet it came bundled with the Book of Breathings. And both had Egyptian sources. I was reminded of my views of this as I read David Larsen’s recent posting on How Many Judaisms? (the same principles may apply). I think it may be a mistake to broad brush all Egyptian texts as apostate. I think when and who are important questions.

    We know the Hyksos ruled Egypt for a good period of time, they were Shemetic, and kin to Abraham and very well could of had and practiced an authorized version of ascension rites. Further, the left over remains of the Hyksos ascension rites may account for much of the temple thymed fragments we see floating around today. IMHO.

    -David

  2. I think that it might be possible that at some point the Egyptians may have had an authorized version of the rites, at least among them. It’s pretty clear that someone in the beginning had a very good understanding of them to pass them on in this imitated form. As you have noted, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, the Israelites, and Moses were all there, as well as others including a small sect of Jews who settled in Elephantine and even established a temple there after the Babylonian exile. These may have all had authorized temple practices.

    Clearly the Book of Abraham was not authored by an apostate cult. I believe it was originally authored by Abraham, the manuscript being copied many times thereafter. But just because the Book of Breathings was bundled with the Book of Abraham doesn’t necessarily indicate that the Book of Breathings is any more authorized. Nibley noted I. E. S. Edwards as saying that the Egyptians were like “a people searching in the dark for a key to truth and, having found not one but many keys . . . retaining all lest perchance the appropriate one should be discarded” (Qtd. in Nibley, MJSP, xxviii.). In other words, they kept everything that seemed like it might be right.

    But I think you are right that we should be careful to make broad generalizations about Egyptian texts. It is clear that they had at least many fragments of the truth, which may have been very educational for Joseph, and also to us today.

  3. This reminds me of something I read indicating that the early Christians believed that the Greeks got many of their religious ideas from the Hebrews via Egypt. Pythagorus and Plato are specifically mentioned as having learned ideas regarding the Creation while studying the words of Moses in Egypt. I believe that most scholars dismiss this as a fanciful Christian invention, but it could very well be true. The same could also be true for the words of Abraham. Egypt was a great seat of learning and housed the collected wisdom of many cultures. Why should they not hold on to the words of great sages such as Abraham and Moses–who both had great influence in that region?

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