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by Wim van den Dungen

"Just as the diverse variety of experience that one made up the living ancient past can never be recovered, so no single history, no academic school, no individual, can promise a definitive version of pharaonic Egypt. The best that can be done, I think, is to recover various bits of the kaleidoscope through which the ancient Egyptians viewed the world, and, through that fragmented mix of endlessly repeating patterns, try to discover something of what it was those people imagined they were doing." - Romer, J : A History of Ancient Egypt, Penguin - New York, volume 1, 2013, pp.xxii-xxiii. aims to bring into balance a multi-dimensional study of the conceptual world, wisdom-culture and spirituality of Ancient Egypt.

This conceptual world is defined as ante-rational and approached with the
critical methods of genetic epistemology, identifying mythical, pre-rational and proto-rational layers in the Ancient Egyptian mentality. These pre-formal (ante-rational) modes of cognitive functioning were discovered by Piaget. Ancient Egyptian culture puts into evidence the excellence achieved by the "mental closure" offered by mature proto-rationality, operating many sets of concrete concepts adequately.

Important here are
verbal & written magic, the sapiental discourses and the Memphis theology. While individual instances of rationality were at hand (as in Ptahhotep, Akhenaten or Amen-em-apt), the overall cultural mentality in Ancient Egypt remained ante-rational. Indeed, throughout the Old, Middle & New Kingdoms, only about 1% of the population was literate.

Studies in Ancient Egypt serve the Report on Studies in Philosophy, in particular the influence of Ancient Egyptian thought on Greek philosophy and its impact on Mediterranean spirituality, in particular Hermetism & Alchemy.

In the context of my
mysticological investigations, the study of the Pyramid Texts, brings the shamanistic component to the surface, providing evidence for the this-life meaning of many funerary rituals. This helps us to understand the difference between Greek & Ancient Egyptian mysteries. It also provides material allowing us to make a distinction between Alexandrian Hermetism and European Hermeticism.

The present studies maintain safe distance from the "Kemetic
revivals" of the Ancient Egyptian religion developing in Europe and the United States from the 1970s. These approaches involve a preselected, piecemeal historical "reconstruction" of Ancient Egypt, filling in the many obvious "gaps" with material post-dating the tradition, like Hermetism, Hermeticism, or worse, Abrahamisms like Qabalah, Christianity or Sufism, each adding bits from their own monotheist sacred texts (containing fragments of Ancient Egyptian wisdom !). Intertextuality is of all ages.

Memphis Theology

"The above conception of the world forms quite a sufficient basis for suggesting that the later notions of nous and logos, hitherto supposed to have been introduced into Egypt from abroad at a much later date, were present at this early period. Thus the Greek tradition of the origin of their philosophy in Egypt undoubtedly contains more of the truth than has in recent years been conceded. (...) The habit, later so prevalent among the Greeks, of interpreting philosophically the functions and relations of the Egyptian gods (...) has already begun in Egypt before the earliest Greek philosophers were born ; and it is not impossible that the Greek practice of the interpretations of their own gods received its first impulse from Egypt." - Breasted, 1901, p.54.µ.

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initated : 06 VI 2003 - updated : 17 II 2017

© Wim van den Dungen