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Thread: The Shabaka Stone enigma

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    Costa Rica Avalon Member
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    Default The Shabaka Stone enigma

    EDIT BY AUTHOR: I no longer find my conclusions or assumptions to be valid. It appears that my thoughts may have run towards connecting A to D without touching B or C. The information is valid concerning the Stone and Shabaka, but my association of this event with others from another timeline was hasty and not my best work. If you can erase this, please do so, if not, understand that in future I will stew over my posts prior to posting them. Thanks.

    The Shabaka Stone, sometimes called Shabaqo, is a relic from the Nubian Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt incised with an Egyptian religious text. The Nubians are an African group from the Sudan region.  They reigned in part or all of Ancient Egypt from 747–656 B.C.    It is a composition of breccia measuring 91 cm on the left in height and 95 cm on the right as well as 137 cm in width.  The text claims to contain the surviving content of a worm-ridden, decaying papyrus that was found as pharaoh Shabaka was inspecting the temple of Ptah in Memphis, Egypt.

    Something that Shabaka,  the third Kush pharaoh, found in a decaying papyrus, whose original date of creation remains unknown, interested him so much that he had this Stone slab carved.   Since this stone was meant to be a preservation of an older text, the question regarding the dating of the original work has been sought after. Attempts to attribute a definite date for the original text have been inconclusive. Some scholars claimed it originated in the Old Kingdom [c. 2686 BC – 2181 BC  , ] while others said it went even further back.

     In later years, the stone is believed to have been used as a millstone damaging the hieroglyphics. This damage is accompanied by other intentional defacements, leaving the hieroglyphics in poor condition.

    It was once placed within the Temple of Ptah in Memphis in the 8th century BCE. It was removed at an unknown date. In 1805, the stone was a donation by George John, 2nd earl of Spencer, to the British Museum where it has been located since. It is known that prior to coming to England it was in Alexandria, but how it got there or when is unknown.

    This ancient city of Memphis, home of the Temple of Ptah, and the Shabaka’s Stone, all lie about 12 miles south of  modern-day Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile.

     As might be expected, at some point Shabaka took to attending to the temple of the chief deity of Memphis. In the process of renovating and restoring the Temple of Ptah, Shabaka is said to have discovered a worm-eaten “work of the ancestors” (presumably a papyrus scroll). The text described, among other things, a story of the Memphite god Ptah as the creator of all things and, in his manifestation as the god Horus (patron god of the Egyptian kings), the great unifier and sole ruler of a divided Egypt at the very beginning of history.   After this unsuspected discovery (so the text goes), Shabaka ordered the ancient document to be copied onto stone, presumably to serve as a concrete image—suggestive both politically and religiously—of his newly-established  rule in Egypt’s first royal capital.

    This writing was copied out anew by his majesty so that it became better than it had been before, in order that his name might endure and his monument last in the House of his father Ptah-South-of-his-Wall throughout eternity, as a work done by the son of Re [Shabaka] for his father Ptah-Tatenen, so that he might live forever.

     Engraved in the hieroglyphics on the stone is a creation myth known as the Memphite Theology, and this message:  [Geb, lord of the gods, commanded] that the Nine Gods gather to him. He judged between Horus and Seth; he ended their quarrel. He made Seth the king of Upper Egypt in the land of Upper Egypt, up to the place in which he was born, which is Su. And Geb made Horus King of Lower Egypt in the land of Lower Egypt, up to the place in which his father was drowned which is "Division-of-the-Two-Lands."  And this declaration firmly associates the Nubian homelands of the southern Nile in Egypt with the god Horus.

    Traditionally, the most widespread creation myth of ancient Egypt was that of the sun-cult at Heliopolis, anciently known as On, which viewed Atum as Egypt’s creator-god. Rising from Nun (the waters of chaos) upon Ta-tenen (the primordial mound) he created the rest of the gods: "Hail Atum,” the Egyptian Book of the Dead reads, “who made the sky, who created all that exists . . . Lord of all that is, who gave birth to the gods!"

    The Memphite Theology on the right-hand segment of the Shabaka Stone, however, has a different story to tell:    Thus it is said of Ptah: "He who made all and created the gods." And he is  Ta-tenen, who gave birth to the gods, and from whom everything came forth, foods, provisions, divine offerings, and all good things. Thus it is recognized and understood that he is the mightiest of the gods. Thus Ptah was satisfied after he had made all things and all divine word. . . . Indeed, Ptah is the fountain of life for the gods and all material realities.

    It did not take scholars long to recognize that in the ideas of the Memphite Theology there was an approach similar to the Greek notion of logos. The so-called "Logos" doctrine is that in which the world is formed through a god’s creative thought and speech—Logos meaning, literally, "Word."
    Logos meaning "word" is also an idea associated with the Old Testament Creation in Genesis 1.

     The parallels with the creation account in the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible, or with e opening chapter of the Gospel of John in the Christian New Testament, are obvious, as with other ancient texts and philosophies.

     The name 'Egypt' comes from the Greek Aegyptos which was the Greek pronunciation of the ancient Egyptian name 'Hwt-Ka-Ptah' ({"Mansion of the Spirit of Ptah"), and originally the name of the city of Memphis.    Ptah appears to be one of Egypt’s oldest gods, known from the First Dy nasty (ca. 3000–2890 B.C.)  onward,  and represented in most major Egyptian archaeological sites. He was the patron god of the craftsmen, metalworkers, artisans, architects, and such, and was closely associated with Memphis where he had a large temple complex.

    So where does this "mystery" come in?   First I find it unusual that Shabaka would preserve an ancient papyrus message, especially when it concerned the creation of the world by an Egyptian god and not a Nubian version of creation. Was he attempting to associate Horus, the falcon-headed sky god, with the Nubian peoples, from a time as early as the beginning of the Egyptian Creation story itself?  Horus was a manifestation of Ptah, but traditionally Horus was associated with the northern parts of Egypt and not the areas near the Nubian south. But was there yet another association that we are not seeing here?

     The Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung argued that archetypal processes such as death and resurrection were part of the "trans-personal symbolism" of the collective unconscious, and could be utilized in the task of psychological integration.  Jung believed that Christianity itself derived its significance from the archetypal relationship between Osiris and Horus versus God the Father and Jesus, his son. However, Jung also postulated that the rebirth applied to Osiris (the father), and not Horus, the son. And we know that Jung was incorrect in this idea.

     In one of my latest posts I have provided the textual evidence that Yahweh himself was an example of this dying and reborn God. And we all know that Jesus Christ was the latest manifestation of this with his death for the remission of our sins.  If we accept Jung's idea that Osiris was related to Yahweh, and Horus to Jesus, was this Nubian Pharaoh trying to express an association with his people and the Son (Jesus), who came to aid the Father while on Earth, and in doing so emulated the death and rebirth of Yahweh (Osiris) that I spoke of previously as well?

    And second, why choose breccia for his monument stone?   Why use breccia to record a message that traditionally had been carved into plain granite or dolomite, or one of the other very hard and readily available stones?  Breccia is a very decorative stone, but wouldn’t one wish to use the most durable stone available in order to ensure that his conservation of the early papyrus message withstood the test of time?

     Breccia  is a rock composed of broken fragments of minerals or rock cemented together by a fine-grained matrix that can be similar to or different from the composition of the fragments.  The word has its origins in the Italian language, in which it means either "loose gravel" or "stone made by cemented gravel."  Did the breccia remind him of the suggested construction of the Pyramids by using precast concrete of some type, as some modern scholars have recently suggested?

    Breccia is a rock consisting of broken fragments of rock cemented together by a fine-grained matrix. One type is called Impact Breccia, and it is formed from regolith, a mixture of rocky fragments covering the surface of an asteroid or planet during subsequent meteoric impacts.  Breccia of this type may be present on or beneath the floor of the crater, in the rim, or in the ejecta expelled beyond the crater.  Was the use of stone from the sky perhaps intended to portray a message from or about the early sky gods?

    Or does the use of breccia provide a cognate mention of the short period of time on Earth that the Son (Jesus) would have, prior to his return to heaven?  A fleeting period in time, but one that was packed with the highest importance?  And can this be associated with the Christ who brought the world together, both Hebrew and Gentile, like rubble cemented together, with his inspiring Words?  Would the messages and teachings of the ancient Egyptians through their Pharaoh's pass away like the pieces of the breccia monument, to be replaced by the new coming and the new Word that would follow?

    I'm sure that some will consider this to be simply a choice of a decorative stone and nothing more. And I would not have considered the connections to the Old and New Testament had those themes not been apparent in this example. 

    But it's interesting to consider the other potential associations, at the very least.

    As always, your comments or suggestions would be appreciated.
    Last edited by Jim_Duyer; 1st June 2021 at 13:59.

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