View Full Version : The Memphite Theology of Creation

01-02-2009, 04:14 AM
This is a Phoenix-thread (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?t=7) from the old site (http://alchemy-forums.forumotion.com/forum.htm).

I had posted this onto another site, but thought it might be of interest here also.

The Memphite Theology of Creation
This is taken from the book The Ancient Near East Vol 1 Edited by James B. Pritchard and published by Princeton University Press Sixth Ed. 1973.

Translated by John A. Wilson

(53) There came into being as the heart and there came into being as the tongue (something) in the form of Atum. The mighty Great One is Ptah, who transmitted [life to all gods], as well as (to) their ka's, through this heart, by which Horus became Ptah, and through this tongue, by which Thoth became Ptah. *1

(Thus) it happened that the heart and tongue gained control over [every] (other) member of the body by teaching that he *2 is in every body and in every mouth of all gods, all men, [all] cattle, all creeping things, and (everything) that lives, by thinking and commanding everything that he wishes.

(55) His Ennead is before him in (the form of) teeth and lips. That is (the equivalent of) the semen and hands of Atum. Whereas the Ennead of Atum came into being by his semen and his fingers, the Ennead (of Ptah), however, is the teeth and lips in this mouth, which pronounced the name of everything, from which Shu and Tefnut came forth, and which was the fashioner of the Ennead.

The sight of the eyes, the hearing of the ears, and the smelling the air by the nose, they report to the heart. It is this which causes every completed (concept) to come forth, and it is the tongue which announces what the heart thinks.

Thus all the gods were formed and his Ennead was completed. Indeed, all the divine order really came into being through what the heart thought and the tongue commanded. Thus the ka-spirits were made and the hemsut-spirits were appointed, they who make the provisions and all nourishment, by this speech. (Thus justice was give to) him who does what is liked, (and injustice to) him who does what is disliked. Thus life was given to him who has peace and death was given to him who has sin. Thus were made all work and all crafts, the action of the arms, the movement of the legs, and the activity of every member, in conformance with (this) command which the heart thought, which came forth through the tongue, and which gives value to everything.

(Thus) it happened that it was said of Ptah: "He who made all and brought the gods into being." He is indeed Ta-tenen, who brought forth the gods, for everything came forth from him, nourishment and provisions, the offerings of the gods, and every good thing. Thus it was discovered and understood that his strength is greater than (that of the other) gods. And so Ptah was satisfied *3, after he had made everything, as well as all the divine order. He had formed the gods, he had made the cities, he had founded nomes, he had put the gods in their shrines, (60) he had established their offerings, he had founded their shrines, he had made their bodies like that (with which) their hearts were satisfied. So the gods entered into their bodies of every (kind of) wood, every (kind of) stone, of every (kind of) clay, or or anything which might grow upon him *4, in which they had taken form. So all the gods, as well as their ka's gathered themselves to him, content and associated with the Lord of the Two Lands.

*1 Ptah thought of and created by speech the creator-god Atum ("Totality"), thus transmitting the divine power of Ptah to all other gods. The gods Horus and Thoth, a commonly associated pair, are equated with the organs of thought and speech.

*2 Ptah, as heart and tongue.

*3 Or, "so Ptah rested."

*4 Upon Ptah, in his form of the "rising land." Note that divine images were not the gods themselves, but only places.

There is an image associated with this story, but to scan it would break the binding on my copy of this book. Sorry, I won't do that.

Sorry, I won't do that.
Ah, come on live a little...

Thanks for the post... Egyptian lore is always interesting!

Here is another link: The Memphite Theology (http://www.kheper.net/topics/Egypt/Memphis.html)

Ah, come on live a little...

Hehe, A few years ago I had gone backpacking through Mexico, and this is one of the dozen or so books I brought with me. It didnt fare too well and is in pretty rough shape now. I dont regret it, just that I dont want it to fall apart sooner than it will. Heh, my pack weighed about 75 lbs. when I left. I gave most of my stuff away, except for my books of course.

Thanks for the link, it helps with understanding more about this story and has some other great info there as well. *thumbs-up*