All the Court's a Stage:
Facsimile 3, a Royal Mumming

The first step in identifying an ancient object is to recall and collect every known example of the document or artifact for meaningful comparison. For Facsimile 3 (fig. 49) this is a large order indeed; there are literally hundreds of Egyptian pictures resembling this one.1 But after we have assembled the first hundred, it becomes apparent that none of them is exactly like any other. The same figures appear over and over again and in much the same attitudes, but that does not mean that they all tell the same story.

It was in regard to such compositions as our Facsimile 3 that Alan H. Gardiner observed that “somewhat similar representations” can belong “to a wholly different set of ceremonies,” discernible only by the accompanying inscriptions.2 The figures are used in various combinations to depict varying situations, and each representation must be interpreted, as one Egyptologist puts it, in the light of an accepted Egyptian “syntax” of symbols. Compositions most closely resembling Facsimile 3 are classified as (1) presentation scenes, (2) offering scenes, and (3) judgment scenes, or combinations of the same. But before taking a closer look, it is important to emphasize what many Egyptologists are insisting on today as never before, namely, the folly of giving just one interpretation and one only to any Egyptian representation. This is the pit into which Joseph Smith’s critics have always fallen: “This cannot possibly represent ‘A’ because it represents ‘B’!” “The value of an Egyptian presentation,” Eberhard Otto reminds us, “depended on seeing the greatest possible number of meanings in the briefest possible formulation.”3 Heretofore, critics of the Joseph Smith explanations have insisted on the least possible number of meanings, namely one, to every item, and as a result have not only disagreed widely among themselves, but also exposed their efforts to drastic future revision. The Egyptians “considered it a particular nicety that symbols should possess multiple significance,” wrote Henri Frankfort, “that one single interpretation should not be the only possible one.”4

We are most fortunate in possessing the doctoral thesis of a native Egyptian Egyptologist, Ali Radwan, who has brought together for comparison about one hundred scenes belonging to our Facsimile 3 category. Why only a hundred? Because he is confining himself to one dynasty, the Eighteenth, and to scenes depicting royal audiences but found only in private, not royal, tombs. The title of the thesis is “Representations of the Ruling King and Members of His Family in the Private Tombs of the Eighteenth Dynasty.”5 Though the royal audience scene (and all the scenes are “audiences” like our Facsimile 3)6 is presented with characteristic variations in each period of Egyptian history, the situation depicted is a timeless one, recognizable from predynastic monuments on down to the latest times—a welcome consistency, since we do not know Abraham’s dates.7 The audience scenes collected by Radwan are not funerary; all take place during the lifetime of the pharaoh and the tomb owner,8 and the owner of the tomb who commissions the mural or relief is always personally involved in the event.9 Though the pictures are found in tombs and are sometimes thought of as projected into the reaches of eternity,10 they all record a very real and happy party at the palace, to which the tomb owner is invited; it is the high point in his life, and the picture is like a photograph taken to immortalize the moment of his closest proximity to Pharaoh:11 “Zealous scribes make a permanent record of the events of the celebration” even as they happen.12 The writings are transcribed to imperishable stone, inscriptions that accompany the pictures describing the event and recording memorable speeches and conversations on the occasion, for the edification of posterity.

The purpose of the audience is to honor the tomb owner in recognition of services of a wide variety. Thus when we see Pharaoh in the presence of the court honoring an official whose efficiency has brought in a bumper grain harvest to the royal storehouses, we inevitably think of Joseph in Egypt (cf. fig. 50).13 Surprisingly, the atmosphere is not one of overpowering majesty, but of cheerful intimacy. “Intimate contact with the king was an essential to a proper biography,” Radwan assures us.14 Intimacy is the keynote. Even the constant reminders of coronation motifs, the Sed festival, and the New Year’s celebration only heighten the atmosphere of warmth and friendliness, for that was the time for the family open house with the exchanging of gifts among people of every class and connection.15 With personal contact at a premium, immediate servants of the palace enjoyed a special, we might say, and unfair advantage (le Roi m’a vu!), and though high officials are not to be denied their claims on the king, by far the great majority of the tomb owners who enjoy the attention of the royal family are servants of the palace, especially butlers—”principal waiters.” It is therefore completely in order to find the main subject in our Facsimile 3 to be one “Shulem, one of the king’s principal waiters,” without whom we never would have gotten this particular story.

A conspicuous, almost unfailing, element in the picture is the festive but formal bouquet, usually of lotus or papyrus, either carried or placed on a stand as in our Facsimile 3—a symbol of acceptance and welcome (“Abraham in Egypt”), whose significance we treat below.

From the beginning, the main problem of the exultant tomb owner was how to indicate the real presence of Pharaoh mingling in the man’s private affairs without being guilty of lèse majesté—the king is never directly pictured in scenes from the Old and Middle Kingdoms.16 At first the famous tp dj nsw formula, “a boon from the King,” alone served to indicate the royal presence.17 Next, as tomb owners risked “growing intimacy,” the king’s name appeared in the inscriptions reporting his presence on the scene.18 After that, his royal cartouches in all their formal splendor indicated that he was really there.19 Finally the king himself is portrayed, seated on a throne under a kiosk.20 This is a standard scene in which the seated figure is being honored by a number of standing figures, usually three or four, though it may include, besides the tomb owner and the king, members of the owner’s family as well as the king’s family, the owner’s friends, and the king’s friends, besides which “there are always spectators,”21 including officials, servants, guards, grooms, fanbearers, etc., in a surprising variety of combinations, no two exactly alike. Naturally the king sits while the others stand, but there are exceptions, almost exclusively in the case of teachers,22 always shown in the act of teaching, which permit the revered mentor to sit while his youthful charge, in full royal regalia, stands before him.23 The edifying scene goes clear back to the Old Kingdom.24 Occasionally foreigners, especially Asiatics, are summoned to appear both to give obeisance and to receive “the breath of life” from the presence of Pharaoh.25 When such are present, the tomb owner appears as one employed in the foreign service (fig. 51), since no matter how exotic the scene, the tomb owner had to have a reason for being in personal attendance.26

In the little dramas presented by the small and limited number of stock figures, props, and gestures used, we see “King and commoner standing together in the presence of Osiris, or the owner of the stele standing before two queens, or the King standing as an intercessor between the praying tomb owner and a divinity.”27 “As a rule the King is seated in his Kiosk,” or later, standing at the Window of Appearances alone or accompanied by others, either human or divine. It may be significant that figure 1 in our Facsimile 3 has no kiosk or window; a brief sampling will suffice to indicate the range of possible interpretations to such a drawing (see figs. 52—63).

If we were to insert Facsimile 3 into the hundreds of scenes just like it available from the whole reach of Egyptian archaeology and ask an expert to interpret it along with the rest, he would, as we now realize, have to take quite a number of things into consideration. Let us look at some of them.

Take figure 1 in Facsimile 3, for example: This is obviously Osiris in royal attire, but a recent study of that familiar personage admonishes us that “one must never forget” that “there is such a variety of representations of Osiris with the crook, flail, and wɜs-scepter . . . that no certain identification is possible,” unless the picture is accompanied by a written text.28 It is only by the aid of specific written labels, another commentator asserts, that they can tell which god is which, what the context of the drama is, and just what activity is being indicated.29 “In all of these books,” writes Natacha Rambova, “the process is always the same, but it is described or portrayed variously as seen from different angles of significance,” while accompanying texts convey “a picture of many analogies and intricate patterns of relationship.”30 Which episode of which story does a particular picture present? It all depends—let no scholar attempt to tell us once and for all what Facsimile 3 really represents. Even the exact date and location of a document give no sure clue to its identity, for the things were often handed around, like the Ramesseum Papyrus, which, though belonging originally to a great pharaoh, comes to us from the library of a private citizen who lived two hundred years later, while the actual content of the thing belongs clear back in the First Dynasty. Such considerations are important where Abraham is concerned. And since Facsimiles 1 and 3 are ritual scenes, we must bear in mind what Gardiner wrote about the Ramesseum scenario: “To me, above all things, it seems salutary to be reminded of the one-sidedness and incompleteness of our sources. . . . How tantalizingly the dramatic text edited by Sethe introduced us to coronation rites of which the conventional sources betrayed not a single glimpse.”31 So we must be prepared for unconventional as well as conventional sources. To understand what an Egyptian document is trying to convey, nay, “to grasp even the simplest situations,” according to Derchain, requires comparison of all possible parallel texts, rigorous analysis of every detail, and an intimate dictionary knowledge of each word.32

It becomes apparent with the first glance at Facsimile 3 that we have here nothing like a portrait of Abraham or anybody else. Well, don’t expect such: of countless portraits of individuals on funeral stelae, “out of most of the stelae we can only guess the sex, sometimes at the approximate age of the individual”;33 even the magnificent royal portraits are not portraits, according to a recent study: The Egyptians at all times avoid trying to depict personalities and at all times prefer static representation in which only the sketchiest indication is enough to evoke the ideal behind the appearance,34 yet another study affirms that it is only “by an effort of imagination on our part,” deliberately blocking out our aesthetic reactions, that we can achieve “the most authentic contact with the document.”35 Instead of being upset by this, the critics now see the wisdom of it; as Samuel G. F. Brandon puts it, speaking of a typical ritual scene like Facsimile 3, “Despite the bizarre iconography . . . the great spiritual significance of the idea which inspired it must be patent to all who contemplate it.”36

Turning to the basic composition of our Facsimile 3, we find a standard situation in which a man or woman is being introduced by another person to an august personage who is seated. This is the minimum cast for an offering scene, a judgment, or a presentation. It is familiar from hundreds of funerary stelae where the usual theme is the bringing of a food offering to the person on the chair. But among these are many in which both the food and the offering formula are missing, emphasis being placed on the presentation of the individual to royalty as a mark of special honor. Sometimes the person on the throne is a god, sometimes a king, sometimes the owner of the stele himself, receiving members of his own household. Sometimes the same scene is repeated at two or three different levels, the same reception being dramatized in heaven, on earth, and in the underworld, all at the same time! It is usual for various members of the family still living on earth to be shown as present on these occasions, which take on the festive air of a cheerful family celebration, with various sons and daughters, etc., crowned with cones of party scent, bearing huge festive lotuses or bouquets for the happy event.

Who’s Who?

In Facsimile 3 the person on the throne is indeed Osiris, and yet he is here supposed to be a normal human being. As everyone knows, the deceased in Egyptian funerary texts is regularly designated as “the Osiris So-and-So,” but how far does this identity go, and how literal was it supposed to be? It once puzzled scholars greatly: If this constant exchange, mixing, shifting of identification of persons happens on every page of the written text, so as to make our heads whirl, why should we expect perfectly logical unilinear consistency in the drawing?37 But Derchain finds in that very freedom of exchange “an admirable logic,” deserving the serious study it has not yet received.38 At the center of Egyptian religion, Rudolf Anthes observes, was not a dogmatic certitude (such as Joseph Smith’s critics insist on); instead we find what he describes as a sort of marvelously interwoven and ever-shifting arabesque.39 Ulrich Luft finds even the oddest drawings “always moving” because of the pure idealization that lies behind them.40 What we have in these free but conventional drawings is “unbridled chains of associations and conclusions,” according to Frankfort,41 to deal with which “we must attempt to hear the resonance of this polyphony of meaning.”42 And more recently Otto insists that “we must be prepared to recognize a mysterious plurality of meaning (geheimnissvolle Vieldeutigkeit)” in these things which is found “in its purest and most secret form” in the temple, but even there in rites of an “undogmatic universal religious sense.”43 We may see in our Facsimile 3 what Robert Hari perceives in a composition much like it (fig. 64), “one more example of the Egyptian taste for playing with analogies.”44 Rigid interpretation becomes even less satisfactory when we consider, with Hans Wolfgang Helck, that through the centuries “old designations (Bezeichnungen), formulas, and rites, while retaining their verbal form (Wortlaut) intact, change their inner meaning.”45

Over a century ago Edouard Naville observed “that there is nothing harder than to recognize the distinctive marks of each individual deity” in an Egyptian picture, for while “every divinity has specific emblems which are like ideograms of his particular qualities,”46 these are swapped around with a total indifference toward the individual gods, the distinctions between them having become almost expunged by the process of equating, equalizing, interpenetrating, as names, forms, powers all become confused in a common basic nature which is the mark of the Egyptian gods. Jan Bergman defines the process as one of proximity, association, fusion, and finally complete identification.47 Within the past year Naville’s view has been confirmed in a study of that anonymous God who reveals the proper way of life (Lebenslehren), and who has no other name but “God” (Ntr) and can be designated indiscriminately as singular or plural; he is almighty, omniscient, hidden, and righteous; he is Creator, Ruler, Judge, and Sustainer; he requires man’s worship, obedience, and trust.48 Yet everything about him is “unspecific,” so that he is freely identified with the king, the sun god, or any other god, and at every local shrine was identified with the local divinity and “looked upon as the all-embracing divine power, . . . the embodiment of divinity per se”; in short, he is “any god one pleases.”49

With things so wide open, it is not surprising that mortals also get into the act. The absorption of the individual into the essence and image of a god in the funerary context was noted from the very beginning.50 But more specifically, in representations such as Facsimile 3 we are often reminded of the possibility of finding ourselves on any one or all of three levels of existence by what might be called “the rule of three.” “The logicality of the Egyptian mind is one of its most striking aspects,” wrote Gardiner, “and nothing is more remarkable than the impartiality with which the living, the dead, and the gods were regarded. Men, gods, dead . . . indicate a hierarchical classification of human and superhuman beings. . . . All three classes had the same needs and were treated in the same manner. . . . In actual fact temple, tomb, and house of the living all bore strong resemblance to one another.”51 In two important books Moret demonstrated at length the fundamental principle (1) that the rites of palace, temple, and tomb are essentially the same; (2) that the same ordinances are performed in heaven, earth, and underworld, and (3) by the living, the dead, and the immortals; and (4) that god, king, and commoner are all engaged in the same ritual activities at different levels.52 The power of the gods was “short circuited,” as Georges Posener puts it, and “became a faculty of the King; he became their substitute and so identified himself with them.”53 In the other direction, as “Horus the heir of Geb, possessed by his father,”54 the pharaoh was also the type and model for all men,55 so an ordinary Egyptian can pray “that he be permitted to enter eternity . . . and behold the One Lord of All seated upon his Great Throne,” and “to receive the crown which the god condescends to hand down to him,” which glory in turn he shall hand on to his own children, who “shall be established” upon his throne in his “offices of eternity.”56 “On every page they confound the human Osiris-N [i.e., the deceased] with the god Osiris,” wrote L. Speleers with annoyance; “this confusion was deliberate and should not disturb the reader who is prepared for it. . . . Useless to seek for an explanation, . . . [it lies] in the derangement of their brains.”57 This is the cheapest of all explanations; there must be something better.

Who Is Sitting on My Throne?

The formula “You shall do what Osiris did, for you are he who is upon his throne,”58 implies that “the throne ‘makes’ the king.”59 “The throne made manifest a divine power which changed one of several princes into a king fit to rule.”60 When the king or his substitute rises from the lion couch, having overcome the powers of death (Facsimile 1) at the Sed festival, it is the throne rather than the man that is acclaimed as he seats himself upon it.61 Which throne one sits on makes no difference, for there is only one, the archetypal throne of heaven, earth, and underworld.62 But who would sit on Pharaoh’s own throne while he was alive and standing by? “No Pharaoh of Egypt,” cried one of Joseph Smith’s learned critics, “would have resigned his throne, even temporarily, to Abraham or any other person—hence . . . this would be an ‘impossible occurrence.'”63 But it has since been shown that there was ample precedent in Egypt for just such an event.

It goes back to the very ancient title of “Rpʿt on the Throne of Geb,” Geb the earth-god representing the principle of royal patriarchal succession here below. As Helck has unraveled it, we may begin with the Sed festival, marking the end of one reign and the beginning of another in a single rite: The old king is dead on the scene—it is his funeral—but his successor has not yet ascended the throne, which is therefore still his. Because of his condition, however, somebody must act for the late king until the new one takes over, and that one is the Rpʿt, originally the son himself “in his expectation of the throne,” in his role of Horus and therefore “like his father a descendant of Geb.”64 Following the example of the Sed rites, the prince could represent his father on various missions, bearing the title “for specific assignments as substitute (Stellvertreter) for the king, authorized to give commands” in his name, and called the Son of Geb to proclaim his legitimate station.65 With the growing business of the empire the king would need more substitutes than one, and at a very early time important court officials not of royal blood were detailed to represent royalty on various missions and given the title in a “truly patriarchal” spirit to show they were acting for the king and as the king.66 The great Imhotep, a man of genius but for all that a commoner, held the title of Rpʿt on the Throne of Geb in the Third Dynasty;67 that other wise man, Amenophis son of Hapu, boasts that he played “rpʿt in the drama of the Sed festival,”68 even as the official Ikhernofret had the honor of being the king’s understudy in playing the role of Horus.69

“By Politeness of the King . . .” (Facsimile 3, Figure 1)

The title of Rpʿt placed its bearer on the king’s own throne, and the royal insignia went with it. Pharaoh would bestow his very personal shen-ring, which proclaimed his supreme rule over all upon which the sun looked down, on trusted officials going forth to speak for him in distant parts.70 There was an element of risk in trusting others so far, and cases are known of men who seized the crown by exploiting the office of Rpʿt.71 Hence it was a mark of supreme honor to receive such a token of royal confidence, and its bestowal at all times depended on one thing alone—the good pleasure of the gracious king. In his divine calling all things belonged to him and were held by others only as his stewards.72 As Ibrahim Harari points out, “the conception of legality” rested on “the principle of extension of the personal control of the king. The law was personal and centralized in essence.”73 There was no limit to what could be given and no questioning of the right to bestow whatsoever gifts and honors it pleased “the politeness of the King” to distribute to whom he would.74 Moreover, Pharaoh not only could but did endow commoners with holy office and power, as when the Vizer Rekhmire claims “a participation in the divine privileges of the King,”75 or when the royal Intendant Rensi in the story of the Eloquent Peasant, “by participating in the King,” as François Daumas puts it, “participates in Re himself. He is by participation, Re himself.”76 It was as a chosen representative of Pharaoh that the officiating priest in every temple “is the king in person, . . . as son and successor of the gods,” not as a mere substitute, but by Egyptian thinking, he is “the Pharaoh himself.”77 And foreigners from Abraham’s country were not excluded from such glory, as the story of Abraham’s own great-grandson makes clear, so that according to the legends, it was hard to tell when the king rode forth with his vizier whether the people were cheering him or his minister.78

Is the man on the throne in the Osiris regalia king or commoner, living or dead, human or divine? In the Ramesseum drama the king’s robe “is at one and the same time the mourning cloak of the living king and the personification of the dead king.”79 Siegfried Schott found it virtually impossible to tell whether the characters in tomb reliefs are supposed to be alive or dead, whether the scenes are in this world or below;80 it is equally difficult to distinguish a festival from a funeral, or a public from a private rite.81 The transmission of royal authority combines terrestrial and celestial glory, Osirian and solar, in a single figure.82 The deep pits that interrupt the passages to royal tombs of the Old Kingdom are now viewed as places of mourning and rejoicing, of burial and rebirth, where the king is enclosed in the womb, and waters of the underworld, even as he emerges as the rising sun from the waters of life.83 A recent reexamination of the tomb of Pepi I finds “mournful yet joyous rites in progress,” as the king seats himself on the throne to achieve heights of “stellar immortality” at the moment he touches the depths of the abyss.84 “Such tensions,” the investigator remarks, “deserve to be investigated,”85 though it is next to impossible for the modern student to avoid, in Bergman’s words, “undermining this doctrine of the Double Nature by our modern logic.”86

Inasmuch as we are asked to view Facsimile 3 as an illustration of an episode in the life of Abraham, let us see where testing it as such will get us. First of all, we note that this is the stock way of representing anybody in a position of power and glory. That is how the king appears at the Sed festival, how he appears in glory either living or dead, how he is shown at his coronation and while being crowned as Osiris at his funeral, for “it is plain that the cult of the dead is closely associated with the other cults.”87 In lively parties (no funeral cult!) when Cleopatra appeared as the New Isis (cf. Facsimile 3, figure 2), her companion Marc Anthony “in Egyptian eyes had to be Osiris” (our figure 1).88 With “a steady thinning out of the barrier between the defunct as Osiris and the actual god Osiris,” even the ordinary person came to be shown as Osiris in funerary documents.89 It began, of course, with the king as Osiris in heaven, earth, and underworld, “sitting on his very throne . . . doing what Osiris is wont to do among the . . . Imperishable Stars.”90 His son assumes the identical aspect while serving his father enthroned on earth, in heaven, and in the underworld—the last of these being the situation with which figure 1 types are normally identified.91 But the ordinary Egyptian assumes the same garb of royalty and divinity as at an early time “royal crowns and scepters began to appear among the objects depicted in the coffins of commoners,” in what Frankfort calls “a wholesale usurpation by common men” of “the immense prestige of the royal prerogatives.”92 Ordinary individuals would borrow, “apparently without a qualm, many of the Pyramid Texts, including their implications of royalty.”93 It was a game anybody could play—one gathers the impression that the compilers of the Book of the Dead included any religious material suitable for recitation as a spell regardless of its contents.94 So let no one exclude the man Abraham from the majestic seat of figure 1 on the grounds of his being but an ordinary mortal.

One Big Family

The three worlds are kept in mind in every situation, in what Gertrud Thausing calls “a constant repetition of the same drama” in a series of “concentric circles.”95 Each level reflects the others: “the king is a revelation of the godhead which he incorporates,” and “through everything that happens, behind the human performance . . . the divine must clearly shine through.”96 This prepares us for what we find in the memorial stelae on which scenes resembling our Facsimile 3 are commonest. Take the stele of Apeni (fig. 65), “pharaoh’s chief boatman”: “In the upper register,” writes Harry R. H. Hall, “Apeni, followed by his father . . . and his mother, Taye, offers to Osiris,” an Osiris who exactly resembles our figure 1, behind whom is seated our figure 2, “Isis with the headdress of Hathor.”97 In the middle register Apeni is offering food and drink to two august couples at a party, and in the lower register Apeni himself is seated with his sister (wife) to receive an offering from a servant. But at every level it is a family affair; the basic pattern of ritual in Egypt, Moret demonstrated, was the culte familial, the doctrine of the family being but the echo of the royal and divine pattern (doctrine).98 The carefully kept genealogies, from Pharaoh to day laborer,99 and the enigmatic ordinances of sealing one’s family to be joyfully reunited in the next world, simply underscore the obvious fact that the Egyptian loves nothing so much as scenes and reminders of the happy family circle. A striking feature of the palace art of the Amarna period and the tomb of Tutankhamun is the seemingly incongruous combination of divine majesty with the cozy intimacy of family fun. The royal family charades were carried down to the courts of the Ptolemies, with their mingling of intimate play, theatrical splendor, and the allure of the Egyptian mysteries.100 On the question of whether the playing of games can be reconciled with solemn ordinances, some recent studies have yielded interesting results.

In 1973 Kate Bosse-Griffiths pointed out that domestic scenes from the household of Tutankhamun are beyond any doubt intimate, playful, informal, quite charming. “All these objects show the young king and his queen in a variety of actions which apparently have nothing to do with funerary themes. . . . On the whole, the inclination has been to interpret the scenes in a domestic sense.”101 But while nearly all students have noted their charming informality, Ms. Bosse-Griffiths’s study shows conclusively that they are also ritual scenes, all, in fact, suggesting a coronation; indeed, she concludes, “it seems likely that all ‘intimate’ scenes of the King and Queen are representations of happenings during the coronation” (fig. 66).102 The persistent recurrence of the coronation motif in the rites of temple, palace, and tomb is fully illustrated in Moret’s collection of materials, but the study of Hari surprises us with interesting confirmation of Bosse-Griffiths’s findings, when he affirms that the exalted rites of the coronation were actually the subject of regular family-night fun in the palace, as “scenes of the intimate domestic life of the royal family” show them renewing the coronation rites in private, with the queen functioning as the high priest.103 We are reminded of Hatshepsut’s account of how her father made love to her mother in the disguise of the god Amon, with “attendant priests . . . masked to represent his fellow-deities.”104 In the New Kingdom coronation game, “inside the shrine” the king consorts with Wr.t-kɜw the goddess (the Coronation Lady), while “on the outside” it is the queen whom he embraces.105 Such masking and mumming in the manner of Hellenistic, Oriental, and medieval courts (down to the nineteenth century) meets us in the hoary Egyptian Pyramid Texts full-blown in scenes very reminiscent of our Facsimile 3.106

Should the popular image of the Egyptian rulers as the last word in lofty, mysterious, morose, and inaccessible majesty cast doubt on the new picture, we have only to remember Sinuhe’s story of how the royal children and even the queen let out happy shrieks of amazement and surprise and had the time of their lives when they recognized their old friend Sinuhe in rugged desert Asiatic garb entering the palace. Since many years had elapsed since his departure, and the children who knew him would have grown up, the story stretches the imagination; but that is permitted since this is the sort of palace life the Egyptians loved. The treasures of Tutankhamun alone make that clear. The common boast of great ones in their autobiographies is not the recognition and office they achieve so much as the measure of love and affection they enjoy in the royal family and in their own. Strother Purdy calls our attention to the picture on an Egyptian offering table “showing a parallel to the scene of intercession at the court in Sinuhe,” attesting the reality of such celebrations and giving “evidence of popular participation in an association of the being of the king with a hope for the afterlife.”107 In the Sinuhe picture we see “the queen as goddess . . . as Nofru . . . and as Hathor-Nut, protectress in the afterlife,” though very much alive, while “the royal children, enacting the role of Hathor priestesses, intercede for him by invoking the goddess.”108 Everybody is in the act, taking the part of some divinity or other, and everybody has fun: “in language that mixes divine with human reference,” the scene at court is for Sinuhe a return to an order of eternal joy and youth. The court is a foretaste of heaven.109 For the Egyptian the family circle is the nearest thing to heaven on earth—and it takes everybody in.

Mystique of the Mask

The common binding element between god, king, and ordinary mortal was priesthood and ordinance. At the coronation the officiating priest “was absolutely thought of as the embodiment of the god himself,”110 and on other ritual occasions the priest embodied the king as a substitute king to whom all power is delegated—he is “the Pharaoh himself.”111 Substitution and dramatization—mumming and masking—make it possible to accept quite readily the shifting of roles and identities that is so Egyptian (fig. 67); there was a distinct understanding that while the ultimate reality of things was to be found in a higher world, men prepared for it by going through the motions.112 Who is to say to what degree an actor or a Hopi Kachina-dancer identifies himself here below with the mask he wears? As early as the First Dynasty the rites were dramatized with “an astoundingly variegated” cast of gods played by disguised humans,113 while “the number of masked priests and priestesses in the late New Kingdom is bewildering, and that number increases in the Ptolemaic and Roman times.”114 Just as Pharaoh “while wearing the insignia was regarded as the actual deity,”115 so important men boast in their autobiographical inscriptions of having dressed up for various ritual parts. One boasts that he took various parts in the Sed festival, that he “took the part of the ‘Beloved Son’ . . . in the mysteries of the Lord of Abydos.”116 Another man is depicted curiously dressed up in a semi-royal costume, without the uraeus and holding the royal Osiride insignia (fig. 68; cf. Facsimile 3, figure 1).117 The fact “that a person or cult-object during the changing phases of the rite can play a number of different roles” offers, as Bergman notes, “no difficulty to the ‘logical’ religious thinking of the Egyptians.”118 Figure 1 in Facsimile 3 can be either god, king, or human, since everything is “saturated with the religious cult of the Osirian mysteries,” at every level,119 and there is “a general resemblance of costume and insignia” between the king and Osiris even when taken independently.120

Contemporary research is laying increasing emphasis on the coronation as the primal nucleus of all the ritual dramatization. It was carried out by masked priests representing gods;121 the play could be taken on tour throughout the land122 or repeated daily in the temples in a “small, condensed version of the coronation ceremony.”123 Sethe describes the Ramesseum drama as “a festival play of ceremonial character . . . a mimetic presentation with the king in the principal roles, an authentic mystery play,” with the enthronement (the bestowal of power—and glory) as its theme.124 We still do not know the plot of the play, according to Frankfort, because “the Mystery Play of the Succession presents us with an undifferentiated sequence of scenes concerned with ‘divine things,'” in which we are still in the dark as to the plan and the aim of the action.125

Another study by Bosse-Griffiths suggests games of masking the royal family when it calls attention both to cartonnage Bes-mask(s) worn by impersonators of male or female Bes, a comic dancing deity, and a number of Beset amulets: “I should like to suggest,” writes Bosse-Griffiths, “that the Beset-figures of Amarna with their girlish faces are impersonations of the king’s daughters.”126 To us that might seem disrespectful, but Bosse-Griffiths concludes her essay by showing how the Egyptians could bring together seemingly incongruous figures and exchange them for each other in free-wheeling impersonations in which she finds that “there is no discord whatsoever between them” (fig. 69).127 We are now a step nearer to recognizing in Facsimile 3 a court scene of the nature described in Joseph Smith’s “Explanation,” but the hardest thing to accept should be what follows next.

Facsimile 3, Figures 2 and 4: Questions of Gender

Anyone wishing to demolish Joseph Smith’s interpretation of Facsimile 3 with the greatest economy of effort need look no further than his designating as “King Pharaoh” and “Prince of Pharaoh” two figures so obviously female that a three-year-old child will not hesitate to identify them as such. Why then have Egyptologists not simply pointed to this ultimate absurdity and dismissed the case? Can it be that there is something peculiarly Egyptian about this strange waywardness that represents human beings as gods and men as women? We have already hinted at such a possibility in the case of Imhotep in which, to carry things further, we see both his wife and mother dressed up as goddesses, the latter as Hathor herself (fig. 70).128 Even more surprising, Dietrich Wildung notes an instance in which “we can identify Anat [the Canaanites’ version of Hathor] as ʾAnat of Ramses [the king] himself in the shape of a goddess” (fig. 71).129 There you have it—the Lady Hathor, who is figure 2 in Facsimile 3, may be none other than Pharaoh himself. The two ladies in the Facsimile, figures 2 and 4, will be readily identified by any novice as the goddesses Hathor and Maat. They seem indispensable to scenes having to do with the transmission of power and authority. The spectacle of men, kings, and princes at that, dressed as women, calls for a brief notice on the fundamental issue peculiar to the Egyptians and the Book of Abraham, namely, the tension between the claims of patriarchal vs. matriarchal succession.

In the Book of Abraham, as in many ancient versions of the Abraham story, the hero in his youth challenges a king’s assertion of divine authority (Abraham 1:5—6), claiming to have the true authority himself (Abraham 1:2—3). The king takes up the challenge and tries to make a ritual offering of Abraham as the well-known substitute king (Abraham 1:18 and Facsimile 1). Abraham’s miraculous delivery converts the king, who petitions Abraham for his priesthood and offers his own honors in exchange—such is the burden of many legends and of Facsimile 3; he also covets Abraham’s wife in hopes of establishing a priestly line in the true succession.130 Why was Pharaoh, “a righteous man, . . . blessed . . . with the blessings of wisdom” (Abraham 1: 26), denied that priesthood which he “would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham” (Abraham 1:27)? Certainly not because of Ham, “a just man [who] walked with God” (Moses 8:27), but rather because he claimed it through the wrong line, “that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood” (Abraham 1:27). What was wrong with it? Simply this: It was not the patriarchal but the matriarchal line he was following. Even while “seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations [what the Egyptians called the pawt], in the days of the first patriarchal reign” (Abraham 1:26), he nonetheless traced his descent and his throne to “a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, the daughter of Egyptus” (Abraham 1:23); this woman “discovered the land” and “settled her sons in it” (Abraham 1:24). Her eldest son became the first pharaoh, ruling “after the manner” of the patriarchal order (Abraham 1:25), which the king sought earnestly to “imitate.” Thus the government of Egypt was carried on under the fiction of being patriarchal while the actual line was matriarchal, the queen being “the wife of the God and bearer of the royal lineage.”131 But however noble it may be, a matriarchal line cannot claim patriarchal authority, even though all the parties concerned are sympathetically portrayed. In all of which there is no mention of race, though enemies of the church have declared with shock and outrage that these passages are proof of Mormon discrimination against blacks.

The tension between patriarchal and matriarchal authority (to be discussed below) meets us at every step in the royal inscriptions as one of the dominant notes in Egyptian civilization. The old matriarchal tradition is clearly announced in Facsimile 3 by the presence of Hathor (figure 2) in her usual position immediately behind the throne. She is Ht-hr, the “house” (womb) from which Horus, the legitimate heir to the throne, must emerge; she is “both the King’s mother, his wife [as such called his sister] . . . par excellence the goddess of the Kingship.”132 Her horned headdress with the sun’s disk—the new king appearing between the horns of the mother cow—appears all the way from prehistoric glyphs on canyon walls down to paintings on the walls of Christian Coptic monasteries.133 The same crown may be worn by any goddess functioning in her capacity, for as the old Mediterranean Mother-goddess, to whom kings were merely consorts, she has countless ways of appearing. “It was quite impossible,” wrote E. A. Wallis Budge, “for any worshipper of Hathor, however devout, to enumerate all the forms of the goddess which existed.”134 She is the heavenly cow, the mother of the sun-god himself, and also his daughter; she is Nut the Sky-goddess and also the daughter of Nut.135 She has things both ways: She is the ruler and the ruled, with alternating assertions of patriarchal and matriarchal priority. Acting in her capacity of Queen Mother as the oldest daughter of Geb, she is the regent with full right to the title of Rpʿt.136 Indeed, it is her throne upon which the king sits by her favor as Lady of the Mysteries;137 no one enters the pharaoh’s presence without her approval; it is she “according to whose plans the royal office is passed on,” and “he is chosen whom her heart desireth to sit upon the throne!”138

In her special capacity as the one closest and dearest to the king, Hathor is identified with Isis, who is “the divine mother and princess, . . . the female Sun.”139 Like Hathor, Isis commands the throne, for in the words of Siegfried Morenz, “She is the embodiment of the Throne, . . . is the Egyptian Kingship itself, which is embodied in the living King Horus, at whose death it enters into Osiris.”140 With the idea of the Great Lady actually “embodying” the king, the incongruity of figure 2 as “King Pharaoh” begins to dissolve. “The throne ‘makes’ the king,” wrote Frankfort; “the term occurs in Egyptian texts—and so the throne, Isis, is the ‘mother’ of the king. This expression might be viewed as a metaphor, but the evidence shows that it was not.”141 To the king she says: “I reward thee with my throne as king of all the lands. . . . I give to thee the office of Atum on the throne of Shu.”142 True, the son must succeed his father, but who knows who his father really is? It is the mother alone who holds the sure keys to that all-important legitimacy on which patriarchal succession depends; it is Isis “the Lady of Life” who represents and guarantees the continuity of the line;143 only when Mother Hathor greets the new king as Horus at the coronation is “the king acknowledged as legitimate and is free to receive the crown.”144 As the king rows his mother in a boat at the feast of Opet (cf. Abraham 1:24), she reminds him that she is his mother, and that all the power and authority he possesses come from her.145 If only because it is the mother who has the last word in matters of legitimacy, divine authority is transferred by women rather than men in Egypt.

Yet remarkably enough the Egyptian record never conveys any sense of dominant and submissive between male and female; even in the stiff formality of the Old Kingdom, as Gardiner notes, “A loveable trait is the evident equality of the sexes: both in the reliefs and in the statues.”146 “There are very few Middle Kingdom stelae,” writes Purdy, “that do not include wife and children, most often on the same scale as the dead man”;147 and Otto has shown how this equality of man and wife persists right down to Roman times.148 Though there are plenty of ambitious and scheming women in the land, the power and glory of father and mother seem to maintain an even balance, and the fabled rivalry between Hathor and Re is dissolved in a perfect love match. On the Old Kingdom monuments husband and wife are represented as absolute equals, according to Jacques Pirenne; not until the Fourth Dynasty do a few cases of female subordination appear.149

Since Hathor installs the king “as guarantor of the world order,” it is not surprising that she is also identified with Maat (our figure 4 in Facsimile 3) at the coronation, hailed as “Hathor the Great, the Lady of Heaven, the Queen of the Gods and Goddesses, Maat herself, the female son [sic] . . . Maat who brings order to the world at the head of the Sun-bark, even ‘Isis the Great,’ the Mother of the Gods.”150 In the prehistoric shrine of Cusae “Maat was like the double [Ka] of Hathor”;151 the two always operate together at coronations: “Maat is before him and is not far from his majesty. . . . Hathor the Great One is with him in his chapel.”152 To signify his own wholeness of heart, the king presents the Maat-image to Hathor.153 Maat (the female son) is the younger of the two—indeed, who is not younger than the primordial mother? While “Isis the divine mother” says at the coronation, “I place my son on the throne,” the younger goddess standing by as Nephthys “the Divine Sister” says, “I protect thy body my brother Osiris.”154 Here the two ladies as Isis the venerable and Nephthys the maiden appear as mother and daughter,155 standing in the same relationship to each other as “Pharaoh” and “Prince of Pharaoh,” whom they embody in Facsimile 3 (figures 2 and 4 respectively).

The presence of Maat is as essential to the rites of transmitting legitimate rule as that of Hathor-Isis herself: they are the two indispensables.156 Maat is “the very essence of Re,” his daughter, his Ka who fills him with life, his mother; she never leaves him, for she is his royalty.157 The two Maat feathers on his crown assert his legitimacy and are identified with the uraeus, which paralyzes all who would challenge his authority.158 She appears in the very form of Horus, the son, at the transmission of the kingship,159 her establishing of royal authority overshadowing all her other offices.160 The king at his coronation as son and successor is filled with Maat, identified with her in every respect, the complete “possessor of Maat.” Moreover, the figure and meaning of Maat was well-known to the ancient Canaanites of Abraham’s day and later adopted by the Jews in Egypt to become the classic Wisdom figure of their own Wisdom Literature;161 a carving found in the palace of Ahab depicts a hawk-headed Horus presenting a statuette of Maat to the sun-god (fig. 72). Indeed, it is in Abraham’s time and country, according to André Parrot, that an infinite number of these presentation scenes (surprisingly like Facsimile 3) are found on Mesopotamian seals, in which “the mediatrice is . . . almost always a woman,” which he finds puzzling, since the prerogative of administering the rites of religion was reserved to males.162

Mixing It Up

All this switching of sexes is understandable, if unsettling, in a symbolic sense—after all, Job says of the righteous man, “his breasts are full of milk” (Job 21:24). But Facsimile 3 is supposed to be an actual scene in the palace; would the family-night charades go so far? Granted that a bisexual nature was the rule for Egyptian divinities, who could freely change their outward appearance to match special functions,163 still in a purportedly historical scene in which men are represented as women we need something more specific. To begin with, Hathor and Maat were always known for the masks that represent them, these masks being regularly worn by men. The horned Hathor mask, originally life-sized, was carried hanging around the neck of the officials and was gradually reduced in size for convenience, though even in the later period it is still quite large—plainly meant to be worn originally as a mask (fig. 73).164 In the Old Kingdom, the son of Cheops wore the Hathor mask in his office of Intendant of the Palace, and other high officials wore it too; in the Middle Kingdom it was still the mark of men serving the king’s most intimate needs as his personal attendants.165 The Egyptian chief judge, as he mounted the bench to represent the king, would suspend a large Hathor mask from his neck to signify that the court was formally in session, just as lawyers and judges in England submerge their personal identities in wigs and robes.166 This Hathor mask seems to have been at all times interchangeable with the Maat-symbol, usually a huge greenstone feather that is sometimes shown in ritual scenes taking the place of the Lady’s face and head. The symbols are so freely applied that Budge identified the “cow-headed goddess” in the presentation scene of the Kerasher Papyrus, which is very closely related to our Facsimile 3, as “either Isis-Hathor or Maat” (fig. 74).167

The wearing of these two amulets or masks means complete identification: “Maat places herself as an amulet at thy neck [fig. 75A]; . . . thy right eye is Maat, thy left eye is Maat, thy flesh is Maat, . . . and thy members; . . . thy bandelette is Maat, thy garment . . . is Maat.”168 The reference here is specifically to clothing; plainly the new king, the young one, is all dressed up as Maat—”she embodies him in her person in spite of sex.”169 So let no one be shocked by figure 4. She is “the female Horus, the youthful, . . . Isis, the great, the mother of God, born in Dendera on the eve of the child in its cradle (the New Year).”170 That is, she is not Pharaoh, but the “Prince of Pharaoh,” the new king. On the other hand, from a Pyramid Text it is clear that the king wore not only the horned headdress of the royal mother Hathor, but her complete outfit as well—combined with the Maat feathers: “His royal robe is upon him as Hathor, while his feather is a falcon’s feather,”171 signifying both Horus (the falcon) and Maat as his “double.”172 Even older is the appearance of King Narmer in predynastic times, decked out with “heads of Hathor on his waistcloth,” showing him to be clothed in her power (fig. 75B).173 Though the Maat-image came to take precedence over the Hathor, both continued side by side until the end with the same meaning; the chief judge of Sheshonq III, though designated as “Prophet of Maat,” wears not the Maat—but the Hathor emblem (fig. 75C).174 On the other hand, in a family scene from El Amarna, the queen and her children all appear decked out with Maat feathers in their hair, which Norman Davies suggests are actual “impersonations of Maat.”175 And the two ladies share the affection of the king when in a cozy family-circle scene Mother Isis-Hathor says to him, “Kiss thy daughter Maat, place her on thy breast like a flower to enliven thy heart”—referring to the Maat and Isis-symbol suspended from the neck, representing the intimate embrace of wife or child.176

The supreme assertion of feminine authority at the coronation is the pervasive and aggressive presence of the feminine mystique itself in the person of the commanding Madame Wr.t-Ḥkɜw, “The Great Enchantress,” “The Lady Great of Magic” or “of Miracles,” who is on hand “specifically as the Goddess of the Coronation,” to perform the necessary wonders and transformations.177 She appears in coronation scenes usurping Hathor’s place directly behind the throne as well as her title of “the Lady of Heaven,” in which capacity she is closely “syncretized” with Mut and Mother, who is Isis, performing all the offices of Hathor and Maat while all the time preserving her own identity, announcing that it is she who places the crown on the king’s brow.178 For as Isis is the throne, Wr.t-Ḥkɜw  is the crown by virtue of “her assimilation to the crown . . . by a sort of projection”—the latest interpretation.179 At the moment of crowning Thoth says to the king, “Wr.t-Ḥkɜw in the form of the Uraeus joins herself to thee upon thy head,” the uraeus, as is well-known, being either or both of the two motherly serpent goddesses Wadj.t and Buto, who protected and reared the infant king Horus in their nest in the marshes of Chemmis.180 Even as the uraeus, Wr.t-Ḥkɜw remains herself, however: “Wr.t-Ḥkɜw as a real divinity (no mere epithet) assimilates herself to the crown and the king.”181 Sex is no obstacle; after all, the king cannot be separated from his crown, and even in the palace charades the queen takes the part of the high priest.

Magic indeed! Here is the familiar good fairy, one of “the Seven Hathors” of the nursery tales, who presides at christenings and anniversaries and who can transform anything to anything else; and to make her act complete, she can enter into the living queen, as in the coronation scene from the chapel of Hathor at Deir-el-Bahri, where the living queen, Ankhesenamon, “plays the same role and thus identifies herself with Wr.t-Ḥkɜw.”182

To summarize, during family night at the palace we behold the family renewing coronation rites in private, with the queen functioning as the high priest, “anointing the king, putting the flower wreath around his neck and shaking the sistrum before him,” the sistrum being the exclusive scepter of Hathor.183 At the same time Wr.t-Ḥkɜw  is on hand, “specifically the goddess of the coronation . . . holding in her hand the symbol of life . . . while she conducts the king to Hathor who makes the nyny gesture,”184 a good description of our Facsimile 3—what Joseph Smith’s critics mistakenly took for a star in Hathor’s hand is an ankh-symbol of life. Our figure 4 is, of course, Wr.t-Ḥkɜw, or can be, for there are other such scenes in which Wr.t-Ḥkɜw appears “playing the role usually assigned to Maat.”185

Too Many Women?

But would “King Pharaoh” and the “Prince of Pharaoh” actually dress up as the goddesses who embodied their majesty at the moment of transition? If the son of Cheops wore the Hathor mask with his royal robe upon him as Hathor and the Maat feather on his head or breast,186 the high priest of Heliopolis could appear at the Sed festival wearing “a peculiar garment, suggesting a woman’s apparel,”187 and the king could identify himself with the Great Mother “by enveloping himself with her bandelette.”188 It was no doubt the worldwide “primitive” practice of masking and miming, as natural and as spontaneous as dancing, of which it was a part, that suggested such things. “Because there was no real identification or fusion,” Erik Hornung explains, “the god could with impunity take any form or sex he pleased without disturbing anyone.”189 Isis as Neith was “two-thirds man and one-third woman,” making it possible for her to fuse with Chnum, the Creator, both male and female elements being indispensable to any act of creation.190 This woman comes forth wearing the familiar white crown but adding a beard to her costume, thus “showing her androgenous character.”191 In the same spirit the king appears in the coronation rites as Hapy the Nile, the feeder of the land, heavily bearded but with all the attributes of a pregnant woman, whereby, according to Hari, he is identified with the Lady Wr.t-Ḥkɜw.192

Is it the principle of the couvade, practiced by some of our grandparents in the Old Country, when the father pretended to give birth to the child so as to lay full claim to its legitimacy? The queen laid claim to patriarchal rites in the same way: “I played the role of the husband,” says Isis to the king, “even though I am a woman, in order to cause thy name to live on earth.”193 Maat appears in the male form of Horus to show that she is the bearer of the kingship, and at the real coronation the queen in her office of Rpʿt would be “at great pains to conceal her sex.”194 Everybody knows that the ambitious Queen Hatshepsut wore a false beard and preempted the masculine gender in her inscriptions, but at the same time her great architect Senmut “had himself represented with a female head,” as did the High Priest Horsiesi of the Twenty-second Dynasty; Capart sees in this a continuation of the Old Kingdom custom of wearing female masks.195 Let us recall that Hall was puzzled to find a figure of Hathor-behind-the-throne labeled not with her own name, but with the coronation-cartouche of Amenophis III, as if for the occasion the goddess (our figure 2) actually was that great pharaoh in person.196 Certainly his son, the famous Akhenaton, Amenophis IV, was fond of proclaiming to the world his total identification with Maat, and to prove that he was “both ‘Mother’ and ‘Father’ . . . the King assumed the latter’s hermaphrodite form and had himself depicted in the strangest bodily shapes,”197 which have caused a great deal of speculation but have, according to the latest studies, never been fully explained.198 Most striking is the way his wife, the celebrated Nefertiti, shares equal billing with him, their figures being “equated in size, in symbolism of stance and gesture, and in their relationship to the sun disc.”199 In one scene we even find “the Queen . . . sitting on the seat with the royal emblems and the king on an undecorated one.”200 She “drives her own chariot,” and in the coronation scenes she wears the king’s crown and in victory scenes plays a masculine and kingly role.201 Though some have viewed Ikhnaton’s behavior as a personal whim, its ritual nature is now generally recognized; Ikhnaton thought of himself “as an extension of Maat,”202 “it being characteristic that at this time . . . Ikhnaton was represented in female forms. . . . The Prophet, by his feminine body of many forms honors his god, the womb of the universe.”203

Though Egyptian family relationships were, as Gardiner puts it, “calculated to make the brain reel,”204 we cannot escape them. Neither could the Libyans, Ethiopians, Persians, Macedonians, and Romans, who could claim to satisfy the people of Egypt as their rulers. Ptolemy Philadelphus and his sister Arsinoe not only enacted the roles, but also presented themselves as the actual incarnations of Osiris and Isis, in a “purely Egyptian” dramatization of their royalty. And the Romans were scandalized when the great Antony played Dionysius = Osiris to Cleopatra’s Isis, while Roman nobles played shockingly undignified roles in the same cast. Yet the time came when a warrior emperor, converted to the mysteries of Egypt, could proclaim his world rule on special memorial gold coins issued in Egypt depicting him in the guise of the mother goddess Demeter [Hathor] with the inscription Galliena Augusta—”a combination that strikes the modern mind as ridiculous,” writes the historian, but “is not so alien from ancient sentiment.”205

Crown and Scepter

In most compositions resembling Facsimile 3, the seated majesty wears the same crown as is worn by figure 1. Sometimes the person on the throne and the one being presented to him both wear it.206 Both the whiteness and the feathers are symbolic of the heavenly light that burst upon the world at the coronation,207 the “luminous” quality of the one who mounts the throne.208 The two feathers are both the well-known Maat feathers, “feathers of truth,” and Shu feathers, symbolic of the light that passes between the worlds.209 Osiris “causes brilliance to stream forth through the two feathers,” says the famous Amon-Mose hymn, “like the Sun’s disk every morning. His White Crown parted the heavens and joined the sisterhood of the stars. He is the leader of the gods . . . who commands the Great Council [in heaven], and whom the Lesser Council loves.”210 What clearer description could one ask than Joseph Smith’s designation of the crown “as emblematical of the grand Presidency in heaven”? He tells us also that this crown is “representing the priesthood.” The “most conspicuous attribute” of the godhead, according to Jaroslav Černý, was power;211 the Egyptians, wrote Georges Posener, “did not worship a man” in the Pharaoh, “but ‘the power clothed in human form.'”212 One shared in the power, Siegfried Morenz explains, by achieving “the maximal approach of the individual to the ‘divine nature,’ symbolized by his wearing an atef crown.”213 The atef is the crown in our Facsimile 3, and anyone in a state of sanctification could wear it, but it emphasized, according to Morenz, a sacral rather than a kingly capacity, i.e., it “represented the priesthood” of the wearer.214

With the crown go the crook and flail, the receiving of which was a necessary part of the transmission of divine authority. Percy E. Newberry, in a special study, concluded that both crook and flail are “connected with the shepherd,” the former “the outward and visible sign of . . . authority,” marking the one who bore it as “chief shepherd”; by it “he rules and guides . . . and defends” his flock.215 The flail was a contraption shepherds used to gather laudanum, according to Newberry’s explanation (which, however, has met with no enthusiastic acceptance by other scholars). Ancient sources tell us what it signified, as when the official who bears it at the archaic festival of Sokar is described as “drawing the people of Tameri [the Beloved Land, Egypt] to your lord under the flail,” suggesting the cattle driver, as does the prodding and protecting crook of the shepherd.216 And like the crook, the whip also serves to protect the flocks: “Men and animals and gods praise thy power that created them,” says Anchesneferibre addressing Osiris, “there is made for thee a flail [nkhakha], placed in thy hands as protection.”217 As symbolic of the power that created, it is held aloft by the prehistoric Min of Coptos, being the whip of light or of power, bestirring all things to life and action.218

In their administrative and disciplinary capacities both crook and scourge are indeed symbolic of Pharaoh’s “justice and judgment.” But in the hands of a commoner? Wolfhart Westendorf calls attention to “claims to royal prerogatives” found in the “tombs of the monarchs and dignitaries, who took over the whip, crook, scepter, and other elements of the king’s garb, in order to be completely equipped in death with all the attributes of Osiris.”219 Gardiner claimed that those who appear in the trappings of our figure 1 were imitating not Osiris but the living king.220 But it is all the same: The man on the throne holding “the sceptre of justice and judgment in his hand” is not necessarily either the king or Osiris, though he aspires to both priesthood and kingship. A scene from the Temple of Karnak shows Amon on the throne handing his crook and whip to the living king, who kneels before him; but the king already holds his own crook and flail (fig. 76), while Chonsu standing behind the throne in the garb of Osiris also holds the crook and flail.221 The freedom with which the sacred symbols could be thus handed around shows that Abraham would not have to grasp Pharaoh’s own personal badges of office, but like many another merely be represented with the universal emblems to indicate the king recognized his supreme priesthood, as the Abraham legends recount.222

The All-Purpose Lotus

Of all Joseph Smith’s interpretations of the figures in Facsimile 3, that of figure 3 is certainly the least realistic. He correctly identifies it with figure 10 in Facsimile 1 and tells us that in both cases it is not a picture of anything, but a symbol, which does not depict or even represent but “signifies Abraham in Egypt.”223 The lotus, perhaps the richest of all Egyptian symbols, can stand for the purest abstraction, as when it indicates nothing but a date in one tomb or a place in another.224 In Facsimile 3 we are told that it points to two things, a man and a country, indicating the special guest-to-host relationship between them. Most of the time the lotus announces a party situation, adding brightness to the occasion; etiquette required guests to a formal party to bring a lotus offering to the host—hence the flower served as a token both of invitation and admission.225 Budge observed how in the Kerasher Manuscript, in which the person being presented wears exactly the same peculiar lotus headdress as our Shulem (figure 5), “instead of the bullock-skin dripping with blood, which is generally seen suspended near the throne of the god, masses of lotus flowers are represented,” giving a totally different aspect to the scene.226 Yet, while the lotuses “seem to have figured prominently” in formal occasions, according to Aylward M. Blackman, we still do not understand the flower offerings, any more than we do the combination of lotus stands and small libation vessels such as our figure 3.227 It would now seem that these tall and narrow Egyptian ritual stands originated in Canaan.228

Quite as conspicuous as its aesthetic appeal is the appearance of the lotus as the heraldic flower of Lower Egypt, specifically the Delta. As such it is never missing from court and coronation scenes;229 it is specifically the emblem of the fierce lion-god Nefertem who guards the eastern Delta against invaders and supervises the movements of strangers, like Abraham, at the border.230 In coronation situations the interlaced stems of lotus and papyrus plants that form the conventional support of the throne represent the binding together of the Two Lands on that joyful occasion, as well as the reawakening, the new year, the phoenix, i.e., the young Horus on the throne, along with the outpouring of light and knowledge over the reborn world.231 Two studies still pursue the illusive lotus, repeating much of Jean Capart’s conclusions of twenty years ago. Capart noted that the lotus belongs to “the genuine abstractions” of Egyptian art, becoming ever more abstract through the years;232 Derchain begins his study of the lotus with the reminder that it is almost impossible to understand what the Egyptians are trying to convey in depicting even the simplest situation and the admonition not to be led astray by the obvious aesthetic appeal of the thing.233 He finds that the lotus appears “everywhere . . . as a symbol of rebirth . . . and creation; it represents a new world, a new day, a new dispensation,” while at the same time it denotes the loving relationship of married couples and sweethearts, including royal ones (fig. 77),234 the significant thing being that all the coronation motifs are combined in it.

A study by Waltraud Guglielmi begins by pointing out the great complexity of the lotus symbol and the difficulty of understanding it; its most obvious and important connections are with the ideas of regeneration and rebirth.235 He notes next that the lotus stands for the bounty of the land of Egypt.236 It is a gift that the king brings to the god in the temple and is connected with the arrival of migratory birds from afar, the birds representing not only welcome guests, but alien and hostile invaders.237 Sometimes, also, they were thought of as weary wanderers returning to Egypt from afar.238 The lotus is definitely a welcome to Egypt given by the king to human and divine visitors; the divinity who received the token reciprocated by responding to the king: “I give thee all the lands of thy majesty, the foreign lands to become thy slaves. I give thee the birds, symbols of thine enemy.”239 In receiving a lotus, the king in return ritually receives the land itself, while the god in accepting a lotus from the king promises him in return the reverent obedience of his subjects.240 “The flowers are mostly heraldic plants . . . associated with the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt,” for in some the main purpose of lotus rites is “to uphold the dominion of the King” as nourisher of the land.241 Moreover, its significance is valid at every level of society, the lotus being a preeminent example of how mythological themes and religious symbolism were familiarly integrated into the everyday life of the Egyptians.242 In some reception scenes the lotus before the throne (our figure 3) is supporting the four canopic figures, correctly designated by Joseph Smith in Facsimile 2, figure 6, as representing “this earth in its four quarters,” proclaiming the rule of the man on the throne over all the earth.243

The numerous studies of the Egyptian lotus design are remarkably devoid of conflict, since this is one case in which nobody insists on a single definitive interpretation. The points emphasized are (1) the abstract nature of the symbol, containing meanings that are far from obvious at first glance; (2) the lotus as denoting high society, especially royal receptions, at which the presentation of a lotus to the host was obligatory and showed that the bearer had been invited; to be remiss in lotus courtesy was an unpardonable blunder, for anyone who refuses the lotus is under a curse;244 (3) the lotus as the symbol of Lower Egypt, the Delta with all its patriotic and sentimental attachments; (4) the lotus as Nefertem, the defender of the border; (5) the lotus as the king, or ruler, defender, and nourisher of the land; (6) the lotus as the support of the throne at the coronation. It is a token of welcome and invitation to the royal court and the land, proffered by the king himself as guardian of the border.

In Ali Radwan’s large collection of royal audience scenes from the Eighteenth Dynasty, those coming as guests to the palace bear bouquets of lotuses or (more rarely) papyrus to their host and sometimes receive the same in return from him. The exchange of the two commonest “backyard weeds” of the land can only be symbolic; when, for example, “the Lords of Naharina,” bringing gifts to the king, are led into his presence by the tomb owner bearing two big papyrus bouquets, no one could be impressed by the rarity or value of the gift.245 The lotus accompanies a wish for a gift of life and protection, Radwan notes, quoting Hans Bonnet: “The Gods themselves are present in the bouquets.”246 The important thing, Radwan concludes, “is the fact that the meeting of a person with Pharaoh or his reception by him took place with flowers.”247 It goes farther than that, however; at the above-mentioned Sed festival of the valley the guest both receives the bouquet of Amon while his entourage bears lotuses from the royal lake into the palace,248 and he actually is “Nefertem at the nose of Re,” i.e., he is the lotus.249 In the famous chapter 17 of the Book of the Dead, Nefertem’s business is to keep undesirable characters out of Egypt.250

Nowhere was the welcoming lotus more in evidence than during the great festival of the valley, celebrating the arrival in Egypt and the inaugural river cruise of “the Lady of Intoxication,” who, as we shall presently see, discovered and settled the land. Everywhere she is greeted in her new domain with the lotus presentation.251 What, then, could better “signify Abraham in Egypt” than the formal lotus that adorns Facsimiles 1 and 3, just as the lotus in Facsimile 2, with the four figures commonly shown standing upon it, signifies “the earth in its four quarters”—all the world within the sway of Pharaoh.

Why Shulem?

But where does Abraham come in? What gives a “family-night” aspect to our Facsimile 3 is figure 5, who commands the center of the stage. Instead of his being Abraham or Pharaoh, as we might expect, he is simply “Shulem, one of the king’s principal waiters.” To the eye of common sense, all of Joseph Smith’s interpretations are enigmatic; to illustrate his story best, the man on the throne should be Pharaoh, of course, and the man standing before him with upraised hand would obviously be Abraham teaching him about the stars, while figure 6 would necessarily be Abraham’s servant (Eliezer was, according to tradition, a black man).252 But if we consult the Egyptian parallels to this scene instead of our own wit and experience, we learn that the person normally standing in the position of 5 is the owner of the stele and is almost always some important servant in the palace, boasting in the biographical inscription of his glorious proximity to the king. Hall’s collection of biographical stelae includes a Chief of Bowmen, Singer of Amon, Chief Builder, Scribe of the Temple, Chief Workman of Amon, Fan Bearer, King’s Messenger, Guardian of the Treasury, Director of Works, King’s Chief Charioteer, Standard Bearer, Pharaoh’s Chief Boatman, Intendant of Pharaoh’s Boat-crew, Warden of the Harim, the Queen’s Chief Cook, Chief of Palace Security, etc.253 All these men, by no means of royal blood, but familiars of the palace, have the honor of serving the king in intimate family situations and are seen coming before him to pay their respects at family gatherings. Some of them, like the King’s Chief Charioteer, have good Syrian and Canaanite names, like our “Shulem”—how naturally he fits into the picture as “one of the King’s principal waiters!” The fact that high serving posts that brought one into close personal contact with Pharaoh—the greatest blessing that life had to offer to an Egyptian—were held by men of alien (Canaanite) blood shows that the doors of opportunity at the court were open even to foreigners like Abraham and his descendants.

But why “Shulem”? He plays no part in the story. His name never appears elsewhere; he simply pops up and then disappears. And yet he is the center of attention in Facsimile 3! That is just the point: These palace servants would in their biographical stelae glorify the moment of their greatest splendor for the edification of their posterity forever after. This would be one sure means of guaranteeing a preservation of Abraham’s story in Egypt. We are told in the book of Jubilees that Joseph in Egypt remembered how his father Jacob used to read the words of Abraham to the family circle.254 We also know that the Egyptians in their histories made fullest use of all sources available—especially the material on the autobiographical stelae served to enlighten and instruct posterity.255 Facsimile 3 may well be a copy on papyrus of the funeral stele of one Shulem who memorialized an occasion when he was introduced to an illustrious fellow Canaanite in the palace. A “principal waiter” (wdpw) could be a very high official indeed, something like an Intendant of the Palace. Shulem is the useful transmitter and timely witness who confirms for us the story of Abraham at court.

Taking Facsimile 3 and one of those family-night coronation games in the palace in which the various parts of the play were freely exchanged among the household, we are reminded that all the world was summoned to coronation ceremonies to give the new king their recognition and submission,256 true to which rule each of the five figures in our Facsimile 3 represents a different social stratum, from divinity to slave, though (and this is important) all belong to the same universe of discourse—it is all the same family. In all of Pharaoh’s doing, “the subordinates, to the degree to which they approach the king, are participants in his condition, receiving thereby a parcel of divinity.”257 There is no limit to individual glory, for by virtue of “participating in the king” an individual, “since the King is Re, . . . participates on the next level with Re himself. He is by participation, Re himself.”258 “For every participant, taking part in sacred rites” entails “a certain sanctification of the individual.” All the world got into the act, for when small-scale dramatizations of the coronation were celebrated at local festivals in the provinces, the local “great ones” of the land were summoned to do honor, like the four local idols in Facsimile 1, while all the common people joined in the feast.259

At the most exalted level, it was “through the ‘democratization’ of the king’s initiation plainly made possible through the ‘democratization’ of the priesthood, that the individual initiate (miste) was included in the kingly ideology and becomes even as the king answerable to Maat.”260 After all, that is Maat (figure 4) who holds the center-stage position in the little drama of Facsimile 3, and there is no reason why the principle should not apply in this case, though, of course, nothing is proven one way or the other, save that the story that Joseph Smith tells is by no means that “impossible event” that his critics have declared it to be. After all, three generations later the man on the throne was Abraham’s own great-grandson. Of Rekhmire, that vizier of Thotmes III who sat in state while his majesty discoursed in the best academic fashion to the attentive court, James Breasted wrote, “He is a veritable Joseph, and it must be his office which the Hebrew writer had in mind in the story of Joseph.”261 Rekhmire’s successor under Amenophis III was Amenhotep, the son of Hapu (see fig. 39, p. 288), who had himself portrayed in a frescoe “seated on a throne, wearing the Hathor pectoral at his neck,” while an inscription proclaims that he “received the insignia (hkr.w) worked in gold and all manner of precious stones, the emblem of Hathor being placed at his neck in electrum and all precious stones, he being seated on a throne of gold before the royal dais, his limbs clothed in fine linen” (fig. 78).262 What more could a commoner ask in the way of royal splendor? And it was all made possible and acceptable “by politeness of the king,” to use the felicitous phrase of the Book of Abraham.

Let us recall the tradition of how the king ordered a throne erected for Abraham after his miraculous deliverance from the altar and commanded all his nobles and their children to do obeisance to the man on the throne and hear his discourse on astronomy.263


1. James Breasted, ed., Medinet Habu, 8 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1930), 1: plates 1, 26, 43—44; 2: plates 78, 107—8, 119; 3: plates 144, 176, 178—79, 291, 295, 310—13, 317, 322, 324, 327, 337, 339—40, 342—43, etc.; Gustave Lefébvre, Le Tombeau de Petosiris, 3 vols. (Cairo: IFAO, 1923—34), 3: plates xvi, xli, lii.

2. Alan H. Gardiner, “The Baptism of Pharaoh,” JEA 36 (1950): 6.

3. Eberhard Otto, “Zur Bedeutung der ägyptischen Tempelstatue seit dem Neuen Reich,” Orientalia 17 (1948): 454 (emphasis added).

4. Henri Frankfort, The Cenotaph of Seti I at Abydos, 2 vols. (London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1933), 1:29.

5. Ali Radwan, Die Darstellungen des regierenden Königs und seiner Familienangehörigen in den Privatgräbern der 18. Dynastie (Berlin: Hessling, 1969).

6. Ibid., 3.

7. Ibid., 23—40, 49, 75—77, 96—97, 106.

8. Ibid., 23, 73, 84.

9. Ibid., 84, 98.

10. Ibid., 104.

11. Ibid., 23, 39—40.

12. Ibid., 27.

13. Ibid., 24.

14. Ibid., 1.

15. Ibid., 10—13, 77—78, 90, 97.

16. Ibid., 41.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid., 43—44.

19. Ibid., 41.

20. Ibid., 3.

21. Ibid., 35.

22. Ibid., 86—92.

23. Ibid., 91—92.

24. Ibid., 86.

25. Ibid., 65—73.

26. Ibid., 72—73.

27. Ibid., 2.

28. Bengt J. Peterson, “Der Gott Osiris-Ptah, der Herr des Lebens,” ZÄS 95 (1968): 138.

29. Eberhard Otto, Gott und Mensch nach den ägyptischen Tempelinschriften der griechisch-römischen Zeit (Heidelberg: Winter, 1964), 8—9.

30. Natacha Rambova and Alexandre Piankoff, The Tomb of Ramesses VI, 2 vols. (New York: Pantheon, 1954), 1:36.

31. Alan H. Gardiner, “A Unique Funerary Liturgy,” JEA 41 (1955): 16.

32. Philippe Derchain, “Le lotus, la mandragore et le perséa,” CdE 50 (1976): 65.

33. Ludmila Matiegka, “Individual Characteristics of Figures on the Egyptian Stelae,” Archiv Orientalni 20 (1952): 27.

34. Ulrich Luft, “Kunst und Ideologie in den Bilderwerken der Pharaohnen,” Altertum 21 (1975): 173—74.

35. Derchain, “Lotus, la mandragore et le perséa,” 66.

36. Samuel G. F. Brandon, “A Problem of the Osirian Judgment of the Dead,” Numen 5 (1958): 112.

37. Cf. Louis Speleers, Textes des cerceuils du Moyen Empire égyptien (Brussels: n.p., 1946), lxxxv.

38. Philippe Derchain, “Sur le nom de Chou et sa fonction,” RdE 15 (1975): 116.

39. Rudolf Anthes, “Remarks on the Pyramid Texts of the Early Egyptian Dogma,” JAOS 74 (1954): 38—39.

40. Luft, “Kunst und Ideologie in den Bilderwerken der Pharaohnen,” 174.

41. Henri Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948), 128.

42. Ibid., 131.

43. Otto, Gott und Mensch, 83, 85.

44. Robert Hari, “La grande-en-magie et la stèle du temple de Ptah à Karnak,” JEA 62 (1976): 104.

45. Hans W. Helck, “Rpʿt auf dem Thron des Gb,” Orientalia 19 (1950): 433.

46. Edouard Naville, Das ägyptische Todtenbuch der XVIII. bis XX. Dynastie, 3 vols. (1886; reprint, Graz, Austria: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, 1971), 1:20.

47. Jan Bergman, Ich bin Isis (Stockholm: Almquist and Wiksell, 1968), 272.

48. Winfried Barta, “Der anonyme Gott der Lebenslehren,” ZÄS 103 (1976): 79—81.

49. Ibid., 85—88.

50. Richard Lepsius, Älteste Texte des Todtenbuches (Berlin: Hertz, 1867), 46.

51. Alan H. Gardiner, The Attitude of the Ancient Egyptians to Death and the Dead (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1935), 10 (emphasis added).

52. Alexandre Moret, Le rituel du culte divin journalier en Égypte (Paris: Leroux, 1902); and Alexandre Moret, Du caractère religieux de la royauté pharaonique (Paris: Leroux, 1902), 218.

53. Georges Posener, De la divinité du pharaon (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1960), 44.

54. Helck, “Rpʿt auf dem Thron des Gb,” 426.

55. Peter Kaplony, “Das Vorbild des Königs unter Sesostris III,” Orientalia 35 (1966): 404—5.

56. Alan H. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957), 168—69.

57. Speleers, Textes des Cerceuils, lxi, lxxiii.

58. Pyramid Text 365 (§625), in Raymond O. Faulkner, Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts (Oxford: Clarendon, 1969), 120.

59. Henri Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion (New York: Harper, 1961), 6; Philippe Derchain, Rites Égyptiens (Brussels: Fondation Égyptologique Reine Elisabeth, 1962—64), 46; Hermann Junker, Die Onurislegende (Wien: Hoelder, 1917), 45.

60. Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion, 6—7.

61. Eric Uphill, “The Egyptian Sed-Festival Rites,” JNES 24 (1965): 381.

62. Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion, 6—7; Moret, Rituel du culte divin journalier en Égypte, 91; Wb, 2:61; N. Schneider, “Götterthrone in Ur III und ihr Kult,” Orientalia 16 (1947): 59, 63—65.

63. Robert C. Webb, pseud., Joseph Smith as Translator (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1936), 113.

64. Helck, “Rpʿt auf dem Thron des Gb,” 430—31.

65. Ibid., 432—33.

66. Ibid., 418—21; David Lorton, review of Recherche sur les messagers (wpwtyw) dans les sources égyptiennes profanes, by Michel Valloggia, Bibliotheca Orientalis 34 (1977): 49.

67. Helck, “Rpʿt auf dem Thron des Gb,” 416; Lorton, review of Recherche sur les messagers (wpwtyw), 49.

68. Helck, “Rpʿt auf dem Thron des Gb,” 434.

69. Hermann Kees, Totenglauben und Jenseitsvorstellungen der alten Ägypter (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1926), 349.

70. Winfried Barta, “Der Königsring als Symbol zyklischer Wiederkehr,” ZÄS 98 (1972): 12—16.

71. Helck, “Rpʿt auf dem Thron des Gb,” 417, 433.

72. Hermann Kees, Aegypten (Munich: Beck, 1933), 42—44, 194—97.

73. Ibrahim Harari, “Nature de la stèle de donation de fonction du roi Ahmôsis à la reine Ahmès-Nefertari,” ASAE 56 (1959): 201.

74. Helck, “Rpʿt auf dem Thron des Gb,” 417; Otto, “Zur Bedeutung der ägyptischen Tempelstatue,” 463; Kees, Aegypten, 42—44, 194—97.

75. François Daumas, “Le sens de la royauté égyptienne à propos d’un livre récent,” RHR 160 (1961): 145—46.

76. Ibid., 146.

77. Moret, Rituel du culte divin journalier en Égypte, 4—5.

78. Alexander Altmann, “The Gnostic Background of the Rabbinic Adam Legends,” JQR 35 (1944—45): 380, 388, 390—91.

79. Kurt H. Sethe, Der dramatische Ramesseumspapyrus (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1928), 213.

80. Siegfried Schott, Das schöne Fest vom Wüstentale (Wiesbaden: Akademie der Wissenschaft und Literatur, 1952), 87—88.

81. Ibid., 90.

82. Paul Barguet, “Le livre des portes et la transmission du pouvoir royale,” RdE 27 (1975): 35.

83. Claude Vandersleyen, “Le sens symbolique des puits funéraires dans l’Égypte ancienne,” CdE 50 (1975): 152—54.

84. Jean Leclant, “À la Pyramide de Pépi I,” RdE 27 (1975): 148.

85. Ibid., 148 n. 6.

86. Bergman, Ich bin Isis, 68 n. 1.

87. Ibid., 222.

88. Ilse Becher, “Augustus und Dionysus—ein Feindverhältnis,” ZÄS 103 (1976): 92.

89. Siegfried Morenz, “Das Problem des Werdens zu Osiris in der griechisch-römischen Zeit Ägyptens,” in Religions en Égypte hellénistique et romaine (Paris: Presses universitaires, 1969), 82—83.

90. Pyramid Texts 365—66 (§622—33).

91. Ibid., 426 (§776).

92. Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion, 104—5.

93. T. George Allen, “Additions to the Egyptian Book of the Dead,” JNES 11 (1952): 177.

94. Hugh W. Nibley, “A New Look at the Pearl of Great Price,” IE 72 (August 1969): 75—76.

95. Gertrud Thausing, “Das ‘Aufhacken der Erde,'” Archiv für ägyptische Archaeologie 1 (1938): 12.

96. Hans Bonnet, Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1952), 396.

97. Henry R. H. Hall, Hieroglyphic Texts from Egyptian Stelae in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1925), 13, plate XLVI (emphasis added).

98. Alexandre Moret, “La Doctrine de Maât,” RdE 4 (1940): 2; Moret, Caractère religieux de la royauté pharaonique, 63.

99. Günther Vittmann, “Die Familie der saitischen Könige,” Orientalia 44 (1975): 378—87; Bernadette Letellier, “Autour de la stèle de Qadech: une famille de Deir-el-Médineh,” RdE 27 (1975): 162—63.

100. Becher, “Augustus und Dionysus-ein Feindverhältnis,” 94—95.

101. Kate Bosse-Griffiths, “The Great Enchantress in the Little Golden Shrine of Tut’ankhamen,” JEA 59 (1973): 100.

102. Ibid., 108.

103. Hari, “Grande-en-magie,” 106.

104. M. Murray, “Ritual Masking,” Mélanges Maspero 66 (1935—38): 253.

105. Bosse-Griffiths, “Great Enchantress,” 101.

106. Pyramid Text 422 (§752—64).

107. Strother Purdy, “Sinuhe and the Question of Literary Types,” ZÄS 104 (1977): 126.

108. Ibid., 125.

109. Ibid., 125—26.

110. Bonnet, Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 325.

111. Moret, Rituel du culte divin journalier en Égypte, 4—5.

112. Erik Hornung, Der Eine und die Vielen (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1973), 87—33.

113. Ibid., 96, 102.

114. Murray, “Ritual Masking,” 253—54.

115. Ibid., 253; Bonnet, Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 325.

116. Heinrich Schäfer, Die Mysterien des Osiris in Abydos unter König Sesostris III, vol. 4 in Untersuchungen zur Geschichte und Altertumskunde Aegyptens (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1905), 15.

117. Hall, Hieroglyphic Texts from Egyptian Stelae, 11, plate XXXI.

118. Bergman, Ich bin Isis, 83 n. 2.

119. Sethe, Dramatische Ramesseumspapyrus, 99.

120. Alan H. Gardiner, review of The Golden Bough, by James G. Frazer, JEA 2 (1915): 124.

121. Moret, Caractère religieux de la royauté pharaonique, 87.

122. Sethe, Dramatische Ramesseumspapyrus, 96.

123. Bergman, Ich bin Isis, 89.

124. Sethe, Dramatische Ramesseumspapyrus, 95—96.

125. Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods, 125.

126. Kate Bosse-Griffiths, “A Beset Amulet from the Amarna Period,” JEA 63 (1977): 105.

127. Ibid., 106.

128. Dietrich Wildung, Egyptian Saints: Deification in Pharaonic Egypt (New York: University Press, 1977), 63.

129. Ibid., 27 (emphasis added).

130. Nibley, “A New Look at the Pearl of Great Price,” IE 73 (April 1970): 79—95; reprinted in this volume as chapter 7, “The Sacrifice of Sarah.”

131. Constantin E. Sander-Hansen, Das Gottesweib des Amun (Copenhagen: Munksgaard, 1940), 47.

132. Bergman, Ich bin Isis, 122.

133. Friedrich W. von Bissing, “Die Kirche von Abd el Gadir bei Wadi Halfa und ihre Wandmalereien,” Mitteilungen des deutschen archäologischen Instituts zu Kairo 7 (1937): 155—57.

134. E. A. Wallis Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians or Studies in Egyptian Mythology, 2 vols. (London: Methuen, 1904), 1:433.

135. Bonnet, Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 280—81.

136. Bergman, Ich bin Isis, 145; Helck, “Rpʿt auf dem Thron des Gb,” 421.

137. Günther Roeder, “Der Isistempel von Behbêt,” ZÄS 46 (1909): 65.

138. Bergman, Ich bin Isis, 169.

139. Philippe Derchain, “La Couronne de la justification,” CdE 30 (1955): 256—57.

140. Siegfried Morenz, “Ägyptische Nationalreligion und sogenannte Isismission,” Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft 111 (1961): 434.

141. Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion, 6.

142. Roeder, “Isistempel von Behdet,” 65, 67.

143. Bergman, Ich bin Isis, 147.

144. Bonnet, Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 397.

145. Walther Wolf, Das schöne Fest von Opet (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1931), 63.

146. Alan H. Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs (Oxford: Clarendon, 1961), 91; Jacques Pirenne, Histoire des institutions et du droit privé de l’ancienne Égypte, 3 vols. (Brussels: Fondation Égyptologie Reine Elisabeth, 1932—35), 2:5, 381.

147. Purdy, “Sinuhe and the Question of Literary Types,” 120; cf. Pirenne, Histoire des institutions et du droit privé, 2:382.

148. Otto, “Zur Bedeutung der ägyptischen Tempelstatue,” 457—58.

149. Pirenne, Histoire des institutions et du droit privé, 2:381.

150. Gertrud Thausing, “Der ägyptische Schicksalsbegriff,” Mitteilungen des deutschen archäologischen Instituts zu Kairo 8 (1939): 53; Bergman, Ich bin Isis, 170, 177.

151. Bernhard Grdseloff, “L’insigne du grand juge égyptien,” ASAE 40 (1940): 197.

152. Constant de Wit, “Inscriptions dédicatoires du temple d’Edfou,” CdE 36 (1961): 65.

153. Jacques Vandier, “Iousâas et (Hathor) Nébet-Hétépet,” RdE 16 (1964): 143.

154. Cf. de Wit, “Inscriptions dédicatoires du temple d’Edfou,” 277.

155. Ibid., 278.

156. Hellmut Brunner, “Zum Verständnis des Spruches 312 der Sargtexte,” Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft 111 (1961): 445.

157. Bonnet, Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 432—33.

158. E. A. Wallis Budge, The Book of the Dead (Papyrus of Ani), 3 vols. (New York: Putnam, 1913), 2:380, plate 7, lines 30—35.

159. Brunner, “Zum Verständnis des Spruches 312 der Sargtexte,” 445.

160. Moret, Rituel du culte divin journalier en Égypte, 143.

161. Siegfried Morenz, Ägyptische Religion (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1960), 133.

162. André Parrot, Abraham et son temps (Neuchatel: Delachaux and Niestlé, 1962), 27—28.

163. Bergman, Ich bin Isis, 275—79.

164. Grdseloff, “L’insigne du grand juge égyptien,” 185—202.

165. Ibid., 199—200.

166. Ibid., 194.

167. E. A. Wallis Budge, The Book of the Dead (Papyrus of Hunefer) (London: Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1899), 34.

168. Moret, Rituel du culte divin journalier en Égypte, 141—42.

169. Bergman, Ich bin Isis, 216.

170. Thausing, “Ägyptische Schicksalsbegriff,” 60.

171. Pyramid Text 335 (§546).

172. Grdseloff, “L’insigne du grand juge égyptien,” 197; cf. 187—98.

173. W. M. Flinders Petrie, “The Geography of the Gods,” Ancient Egypt (1917): 114.

174. Grdseloff, “L’insigne du grand juge égyptien,” 194—95.

175. Norman de G. Davies, The Rock Tombs of El Amarna, 6 vols. (London: Egypt Exploration Fund, 1906), 4:19 n. 2.

176. Bergman, Ich bin Isis, 192—93.

177. Hari, “Grande-en-magie,” 103—4.

178. Ibid., 102—3.

179. Ibid., 107.

180. Hugh W. Nibley, The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1975), 26—27, 58, 104—5.

181. Hari, “Grande-en-magie,” 103.

182. Ibid., 105.

183. Ibid., 106.

184. Ibid., 104.

185. Ibid., 102, 107.

186. Pyramid Text 335 (§546); Grdseloff, “L’ensigne du grand juge égyptien,” 199.

187. Siegfried Schott, Mythe und Mythenbildung im alten Ägypten (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1945), 14.

188. Moret, Rituel du culte divin journalier en Égypte, 189.

189. Hornung, Die Eine und die Vielen, 88.

190. Bergman, Ich bin Isis, 277.

191. Erik Hornung, Das Amduat: Die Schrift des verborgenen Raumes, 3 vols. (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1963—67), 2:27; Bonnet, Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 515.

192. Hari, “Grande-en-magie,” 101.

193. Wilhelm Spiegelberg, “Varia,” ZÄS 53 (1917): 95—96.

194. Alexandre Moret, Kings and Gods of Egypt (New York: Putnam, 1912), 28.

195. Jean C. Capart, “Sur un Texte d’Hérodote,” CdE 20 (1944): 223.

196. Hall, Hieroglyphic Texts from Egyptian Stelae, 13, plate XLVI.

197. Wolfhart Westendorf, Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture of Ancient Egypt (New York: Abrams, 1969), 138—39; Alexandre Moret, Histoire de l’Orient (Paris: Presses universitaires, 1929), 528.

198. Roland Tefnin, review of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, by Cyril Aldred, CdE 52 (1977): 83—85.

199. Julia Samson, “Nefertiti’s Regality,” JEA 63 (1977): 91.

200. Ibid., 96.

201. Ibid., 88.

202. Rudolf Anthes, “Die Maat der Echnaton von Amarna,” JAOS 72/14 (1953): 31.

203. Moret, Histoire de l’Orient, 528.

204. Gardiner, “Adoption Extraordinary,” 26.

205. Andras Alföldi, “The Crisis of the Empire (A.D. 249—270),” in Cambridge Ancient History, ed. Stanley A. Cook, 12 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 12:189.

206. Cf. László Kákosy, “Selige und Verdammte in der spätägyptischen Religion,” ZÄS 97 (1971): 100.

207. S. Mayassis, Mystères et intiations dans la préhistoire et protohistoire de l’anté-Diluvien à Sumer-Babylone (Athens: BAOA, 1961), 299—304.

208. Ibid., 301; cf. Pyramid Text 437 (§800); 459 (§865); 513 (§1172).

209. Theodor Hopfner, Plutarch über Isis und Osiris, 2 vols. (Prague: Orientalisches Institut, 1941), 1:70.

210. Günther Roeder, Urkunden zur Religion des alten Aegypten (Jena: Diederichs, 1915), 24.

211. Jaroslav Černy, Ancient Egyptian Religion (New York: Hutchinson’s University Library, 1952), 59.

212. Posener, Divinité du pharaon, 102.

213. Morenz, “Problem des Werdens,” 81.

214. Ibid.

215. Percy E. Newberry, “The Shepherd’s Crook and the So-called ‘Flail’ or ‘Scourge’ of Osiris,” JEA 15 (1929): 85—87.

216. Ricardo A. Caminos, Late-Egyptian Miscellanies (London: Oxford University Press, 1954), 420.

217. Constantin Sander-Hansen, Die religiösen Texte auf dem Sarg der Anchnesneferibre (Copenhagen: Levin and Munksgaard, 1937), 105—6.

218. Cf. Eugène Lefébure, “Le Cham et l’Adam Égyptiens,” BE 35 (1912): 7.

219. Westendorf, Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture of Ancient Egypt, 84.

220. Gardiner, review of The Golden Bough, 124.

221. Georges A. Legrain, Les temples de Karnak (Brussels: Vromant, 1929), 217, fig. 129.

222. Nibley, “A New Look at the Pearl of Great Price,” IE 72 (May 1969): 88.

223. Ibid., IE 72 (September 1969): 89.

224. Kurt H. Sethe, Urkunden des alten Reichs, 4 vols. (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1932), 1:111.

225. Nibley, “A New Look at the Pearl of Great Price,” IE 72 (September 1969): 89—93.

226. Budge, Book of the Dead (Papyrus of Hunefer), 34.

227. Aylward M. Blackman, “A Study of the Liturgy Celebrated in the Temple of Aton at El-Amarna,” in Recueil d’études Égyptologiques dediées à la mémoire de Jean François Champollion (Paris: Champion, 1922), 517, 521.

228. Shmuel Yeivin, “Canaanite Ritual Vessels in Egyptian Cultic Practices,” JEA 62 (1976): 114.

229. Nibley, “A New Look at the Pearl of Great Price,” IE 72 (September 1969): 91.

230. Ibid.

231. Schott, Schöne Fest vom Wüstentale, 48—54.

232. Jean Capart, “Au pays du symbolisme,” CdE 32 (1957): 232—33, 236.

233. Derchain, “Lotus, la mandragore et le perséa,” 65—66.

234. Ibid., 71.

235.   Waltraud Guglielmi, “Zur Symbolik des ‘Darbringens des Straußes der sḫ.t,'” ZÄS 103 (1976): 103.

236. Ibid., 103.

237. Ibid., 104—6.

238. Ibid., 108.

239. Ibid.

240. Ibid., 110—11.

241. Ibid., 111—12.

242. Ibid.

243. Nibley, Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, 82.

244. Siegfried Schott, “Das Buch von der Abwehr des Bösen,” in Urkunden des ägyptischen Altertums (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1929), 139.

245. Radwan, Darstellungen des regierenden Königs, 57.

246. Ibid., 3.

247. Ibid.

248. Schott, Schöne Fest vom Wüstentale, 56, 60.

249. Ibid., 111.

250. Hermann Grapow, “Totenbuch 17,” in Religiöse Urkunden: Ausgewählte Texte des Totenbuchs (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1915—17), 57—59.

251. Schott, Schöne Fest vom Wüstentale, 48—51.

252. Bernhard Beer, Leben Abraham’s nach Auffassung der jüdischen Sage (Leipzig: Leiner, 1859), 194 n. 853.

253. Hall, Hieroglyphic Texts from Egyptian Stelae, 3.

254. Jubilees 39:6.

255. Kaplony, “Vorbild des Königs unter Sesostris III,” 405—6.

256. Bonnet, Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 400.

257. Daumas, “Sens de la royauté égyptienne,” 146; cf. Max Guilmot, “Le titre Imj-Khent dans l’Égypte ancienne,” CdE 39 (1964): 39—40.

258. Daumas, “Sens de la royauté égyptienne,” 146.

259. Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods, 128—30.

260. Bergman, Ich bin Isis, 300.

261. James H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, 4 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1906—7), 2:271.

262.   Grdseloff, “L’ensigne du grand juge égyptien,” 201—2.

263. Adolf Jellinek, Bet-ha-Midrasch, 6 vols. (1853—77; reprint, Jerusalem: Wahrmann, 1967), 5:41, 50.