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Re: Book of the Dead Spell 159- Who are they?

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  • neseret
    ... ======== When you asked this question on another list, you were given very good reasons to understand that the nursing goddess is Renenet, who is the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 16, 2013
      --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "serapisliber" <serapisliber@...> wrote:
      > Hello all. I was wondering if anyone here knows, or has a confident guess, as to what the identities are of the characters referenced in Spell 159? I've been going off of Faulkner's translation republished in 1998- http://books.google.com/books?id=La9K8fp-BcMC&pg=PA125#v=onepage&q&f=false
      > They are all ambiguous, but based on the the context of the preceding spells, I have leaned towards Isis being the "she," Geb being her father "the bull of the nursing goddess," and Nut being the nursing goddess. But I'm not really sure. Isis is the female of the two preceding spells, and Geb is mentioned in the spell just prior. But then three spells prior Osiris is reference as "Father," plus I know that there some Egyptian texts out there in which Osiris is referred to as the "father" of Isis, and Isis referred to as "mother" of Osiris. Seems even back then spouses could fall into the habit of calling each other "ma" & "pa," lol. Anyway, I guess that is the main source of my confusion. I know there are a few places where Geb is called a bull, but Osiris is called a bull much more often, plus as the son of Nut, who was often a cow, it kind of makes sense for Osiris to be bull of the "nursing goddess" here, a suckling calf of the great cow, if you will, rather than Geb to be the bull. Unless perhaps Tefnut is the "nursing goddess" here? I just don't know. Any thoughts on this? All inputs are welcome.
      When you asked this question on another list, you were given very good reasons to understand that the "nursing goddess" is Renenet, who is the traditional nursing goddess of the king, and who is often considered the consort or daughter of Geb (that source cited Naville/Renouf's 1904 translation of the name for the "nursing goddess" in this chapter as "Renenet," as well as a similar translation from the German Totenbuch Projekt).

      Renenet's name comes from /rnn/ "to nurse" (CDME: 150), which is supplemented by a determinative of a nursing female sitting on a chair with a baby suckling. So when one reads "nursing goddess" in the BD texts, it is rendered as /Rnn.t/ (CDME: 151), 'Renenet', "she who suckles/nurses," and in this case, given a goddess determinative.

      It is difficult to find a full rendering of the Book of the Dead in glyphs with Spell 159 within (Naville's 1886 rendering of the Book of the Dead doesn't include the spell, for example), but I was able to find a glyph rendering of BD 159 in an 1894 work which reproduced the Turin Papyrus version of this spell, which I have scanned and then highlighted in yellow the section that reads as "Bull of the Nursing Goddess," /kA n Rnn.t/, and placed it online for you to see:


      You may also wish to consult Faulkner's other work on the Book of the Dead, with Carol Andrews (2010 (1985)), which has a hieratic facsimile of BD 159 on p. 154, cited below.

      According to Hart's work on gods and goddesses (1986: 185), the syncretisation of Renenet with Isis does not occur until the Ptolemaic period where Renenet's name is rendered as Hermouthis, and identified with Isis at that time.

      So, at the time that the Book of the Dead is written in the New Kingdom, Renenet and Isis were considered separate deities, and for that reason, I would not suggest an identification of the "nursing goddess" with either Isis or Nut, but rather with Renenet.

      Further, I am not aware of any epithet for Nut which identifies her as a "nursing goddess," for example, but if you have any such evidence, please feel free to detail it here.

      Citation for glyph renderings of BD 159:

      Davis, C. H. S. 1894. _The Egyptian Book of the Dead. The Most Ancient and the Most Important of the Extant Religious Texts of Ancient Egypt_. (Facsimiles of the Turin and Louvre Papyri) London: G. P. Putnam and Sons.

      Faulkner, R. O. And C. A. Andrews. 2010 (1985). _The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead_. London: British Museum Press.

      Other References:

      CDME = Faulkner, R. O. 1991 (1962). _A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian_. Oxford, Griffith Institute.

      Hart, G. 1986. _A Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses_. London/New York: Routledge.


      Regards --

      Katherine Griffis-Greenberg, M. A. (Lon)

      Oriental Institute
      Oriental Studies
      Doctoral Programme [Egyptology]
      Oxford University
      Oxford, United Kingdom

      A man who limits his interests, limits his life.
      Vincent Price
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