Who - What - When ?

by Wim van den Dungen

"The foremost Egyptologist of our time, John Romer, has made the observation that everyone brings their own interpretation of ancient Egypt with them. He had worked with archaeologists from three different nations, America, England and Germany, and each had a different Egypt. Like the elephant and the seven blind men, Egypt is too enormous for a single point of view. (...) No other civilization, modern or ancient, has successfully maintained a coherent and as evenly sustained a cultural identity as the peoples of ancient Egypt. Even China is three thousand years younger."
Wheeler, 2002, p.26, my italics.

To bring into balance a scientifically justified study of the conceptual world, wisdom-culture and spirituality of Ancient Egypt, a set of hermeneutical concepts ensues. These are intimately linked with the three modes of cognition characterizing Ancient Egyptian thought : mythical, pre-rational and proto-rational. They define the ante-rationality of pre-Greek cultures. In Ancient Egypt, the mix between these layers or textures of thought was pronounced.

Ancient Egypt is a component of our contemporary culture, influencing music, theater and art. Thanks to a constant succession of discoveries in Egypt and the Near East and two centuries of scholarly research into things Egyptian, the conceptual world of Ancient Egypt may -for the first time in two millenia- speak its word and affect our mentalities.

In particular, a philosophical & multi-disciplinary approach is fostered. Sparks of intellectual efforts have come to us in the form of sapiental literature, justice, cosmology, ethics, theology, ritualism, funerary literature, anthropology, etc.

At the end of the Ptolemaic Empire, Hermetism saw the light. The influence of this Alexandrian Gnosis on Greek philosophy (Aristotelism, Neoplatonism), Sufism (Harran), Christian mysticism (the "Orientale Lumen") and the Hermeticism of the European Renaissance is unmistaken.

It is hoped our scientific backing is more than veneer on these Studies on Ancient Egypt, but indeed provided us with a probable frame, even if the latter is only a stage along the way and not definitive.

"What we call history is a pale reconstruction of the actual events of the past. We make models of what we think happened, and frequently we confuse our models with reality. The fact is that our models, particularly those concerning the remote past, are no more accurate that a papier-mâché model of a jet engine. We have the rough outlines but lack insight into the essentials. This statement becomes truer the farther back we go in time."
Feuerstein, Kak, & Frawley, 1995, p.3.


initiated : 2003 - last update : 26 XI 2010

© Wim van den Dungen
Antwerp, 2003 - 2014.