"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." -
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
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.
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
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
Greek philosophy (Aristotelism,
Christian mysticism (the "Orientale
Lumen") and the Hermeticism of the European Renaissance is unmistaken.
It is hoped our
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
"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.