Khufu's Pyramid Ressurection

Discussion in 'Ancient History and Mythology' started by iBrian, Sep 20, 2003.

  1. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    There was a great BBC program on earlier in the week, that examined the building of Khufu's pyramid.

    It used a (fictional?) first person narrative of someone involved in the building to tell the story of the pyramid: you watched their life, and tht told of how it the pyramid was made, and what it meant. Plenty of CGI scenes and contentious building issues raised. :)

    However, there was quite a surprising ending.

    It had stated at the beginning the world spoken notion of the Egyptian's being obsessed with stars - here, particuarly, the circumpolar stars (Ursa Minor - the Plough - the Little Bear?). It followed the shaft from the burial chamber to the sky, showing how it aligned.

    It interesting part is this: the worker reflected on how the Great King Khufu was going to be resurrected in death into life - fine, that's not at stake. What was very interesting, however, was the claim made through the worker's narrative that the Great King being resurrected was therefore a resurrection for all His people - essentially, that in attaining eternal life, the Pharaoh was also granting eternal life to the people of Egypt.

    I have never encountered that idea before from my reading of Egyptology - that of a shared resurrection experience.

    Anyone familiar with this idea within the Egyptian Old Kingdom (or later?). Or was this a speculative fantasy on the part of the program makers??

    Either way, I believe that it was called "Pyramid", and is likely also being screened on Discovery - in case you get the chance to see it. Very good program, actually - a decent exploration of the history through a somewhat unique perspective. Unfortunately, the program doesn;t have a specific page covering its content on the BBC website.

    So...opening up on Egyptian resurrection beliefs...
     
  2. WHKeith

    WHKeith New Member

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    Sounds like a great program, Brian. I hope I can catch it.

    The shared resurrection idea is fascinating--and it's important, if it's true, as a possible precurser to Christian beliefs. However, I've never heard the idea presented that way, not even remotely. If the notion that the king could die and be reborn for all of his people was true, then there would have been absolutely no need for elaborate mummification of anyone else BUT kings. And yet, anyone who could afford it was mummified in hopes of surviving the perilous passage through the underworld and the judgement before the scales of Ma'at at the seat of Osiris. I see no indication in "The Book of Coming Forth By Day" (better known by the erroneous title "Book of the Dead") that people relied on the king's accomplishments to win them eternal life. Quite the contrary. If you couldn't truthfully answer all the questions correctly--" I have not lied, I have not committed murder, I have not committed adultery, I have not falsified the scales, I have not . . ."--and if your heart weighed more than Ma'at's feather, you got eaten by the crocodile and had no hope of everlasting life. Osiris was the Judge of the dead. Why judge each man for his actions in life if he had a get-out-of-death-free card from Pharoah?

    Leastwise, that's how I see it. Sounds like a bit of writer's license to me!
     
  3. WHKeith

    WHKeith New Member

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    Sudden additional thought. I saw, recently, an absolutely preposterous book--forget the title--that claimed that Akhenaten was Jesus. Not Moses. JESUS. Makes Bloodline of the Grail look like a masterwork of research and scholarly care.

    Is it possible the writers of that BBC program were influenced by that tripe?
     
  4. FriendRob

    FriendRob New Member

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    Well, there's this:

    (Utterance 217 of Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, R. Faulkner)

    If "souls" are the spirits of the dead, the King seems to have power to restore them to life. However, in the other lines of the Utterance, the phrase is "gods and their spirits" (rather than "souls"). A more likely interpretation might be that the King has absolute authority over the denizens of the afterlife world. (I'm not up on Egyptian history, but presumably he had capital punishment authority in life as well?)

    My guess is "speculative fantasy".... Often in dealing with ancient religions people (including often scholars who should know better) seem to interpret the evidence in terms of Judeo-Christian beliefs. Then someone comes along and says "Gee, look how much Judeo-Christian beliefs borrow from ancient religions!"
     
  5. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    It certainly did sound like a strange specualtion - not a concept I was familiar with either, hence the asking.

    I would certainly hope they were not influenced by any such book - Akhenaten is a favourite subject.

    A point to make is that Khufu was essentially setting the tone for all the following Kings, and that the Egyptian Book of the Dead is a later work, yes? I don't believe there's anything such in the major pyramids. So it would hardly be surprising if the upper classes of Egypt's nobility sought to emulate their ancient Kings to some degree, even theologically.

    Still, I'm not sure why a Old Kingdom ruler would seek to elevate the lower classes. It's not something I've noted in my own reading of Egypt. It's a great idea but I'd like to see it supported first.
     
  6. Dave the Web

    Dave the Web New Member

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    I agree that it must be a very recent interpretation. Otherwise we would have had atheism throwing it at Christians for centuries if true.
     
  7. Darkwolf

    Darkwolf Kemetic

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    As far as I can tell, it is speculation. There isn't much record of the common people's religious beliefs in the Old Kingdom.
     
  8. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    Priest, prince, and pyramids

    The priest is the wise guy, the prince the bully.

    The priest had been searching for an elixir to give lasting life to the bully; he never found any.

    Then he hit upon a brilliant tbought: "What bother with a material substance when you can arrive at the same bonanza with an idea?" This is the birth of the belief in resurrection or reincarnation.

    So he sold that idea to the prince who then forced his people to build pyramids which are gigantic safety deposit boxes for his and his family's earthly remains -- and monuments to his and his family's super-ego, in wait for the resurrection.

    To sweeten the deal for the masses, they were told that they too would rise back to life through, by and with their prince.

    Now the priest can continue to live above the prince and the masses, in a self-satisfying caste in charge of princes and masses. What a living, and what a career, all with the mechanism of an idea.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  9. Darkwolf

    Darkwolf Kemetic

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    Ideas of an afterlife stretch back before recorded history.
    The ancient Egyptians were originally buried in simple pit graves with a few goods. Over time someone decided to build a mudbrick enclosure around the grave, creating what Egyptologists call a masaba tomb. The tombs got larger and were built with more permanent materials. Then a man named Imhotep came up with the idea of stacking smaller masabas on top of each other, creating a pyramid. This shape reflected the mound that rose out of the waters at the time of creation. In later models, the sides were smoothed, making a 'true' pyramid. Pyramids got bigger and bigger until we get to the Great Pyramid. The cost of building and the risk of robbery got to be too much, so pyramids became less popular.

    It was not a sudden idea or a well thought out scheme. Pyramids are the result of an evolution.
     
  10. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    Mass housing for the masses

    What I have always found dismaying with the lasting monuments dating from ancient Egypt, the mammoth pyramids for storage of dead bodies, of a few or even one individual.

    I must congratulate the modern minds who concern themselves with mass housing, how to give homes to people which they can afford and can withstand storms and earthquakes.

    Yes, there is hope for mankind.

    And we don't use fellow humans to build them, but we use machines.


    Susma Rio Sep
     
  11. queenuggi

    queenuggi New Member

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    Khufu's resurrection & BBC's "Pyramid"

    HI,

    Just found this place while looking for an answer to the very question you've asked here: what is the evidence for Khufu as "messiah" for his people? I'll be dead disappointed if it was nothing more than dramatic licence by the BBC; but there's been such a spate of programmes on ancient Egypt due to recent translations of previously untranslated material, that I'm hoping this might be genuine.

    If anyone out there knows where I could find out more, please will you let me know by Private Message?

    Anyway, there does appear to be a website for the programme, here if you want a look:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/programmes/pyramid/index.shtml

    Apologies if I'm telling you something you already know!

    @uggi
     

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