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Thoth (final comments)

(We can't let those Rosicrucians have the last word)


"Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilisation"  Volume 1 - The Fabrication of Ancient Greece."  Martin Bernal


"Aside from Petrie's specific arguments, the central feature pointing to the early dating of the oldest portion of the (Hermetic) Texts is that all scholars agree that Hermes is the same as the Egyptian Thoth.  Casaubon, the 17th c. debunker of the Texts, did not deny that there might have been an ancient sage called Hermes Trismegistus.  Similarly, modern writers can hardly deny the existence of Thoth as the god of wisdom.  What is questioned is the antiquity of the Texts and of the figure of the sage Hermes Trismegistus.


It is not so easy, however, to draw clear lines between the traditional worship of Thoth, his allegedly Iranian or Hellenistic cult in the Hellenic period, and the philosophy of the Hermetic Texts.  Professors Stricker and Derchain have recently shown in detail that the Egyptian element in the Corpus is a good deal more prominent than Festugiere and other scholars...supposed.  Furthermore, the idea of the 'Writings of Thoth' is clearly very old.  It occurs frequently in the 'Book of the Dead', which was current in the 18th Dynasty...Plutarch and the early Christian writer Clement of Alexandria refer to the "Writings of Hermes"   Although the dynastic version may bear very little resemblance to the later Corpus, I believe that scholars are too hasty in their denial of any connection with the latter.


Recent discoveries have also pushed back the dates of features of the Hermetic Corpus previously thought to have come in only in the Roman period.  The name Dhwty<3,<3,<3

(Thoth Thrice Greatest) has been found at Esna in Upper Egypt from the early 3rd c. BC, and Dhwty p3<3,p3<3,p3<3 (Thoth the Thrice Greatest), Hermes Trismegistus, has been

read in Demotic texts from Saqqara just outside Memphis, from the early 2nd c. BC...It is generally beleived that Thoth's cult expanded greatly during Ptolemaic times but in the "Book of the Dead", a thousand years earlier, Thoth was already an extremely powerful and often-invoked deity.  All in all, there is no reason whatsoever to doubt that the worship of Thoth in Ptolemaic times was firmly rooted in ancient tradition.


The key reason for making a sharp break between the ancient cult and the later Hermeticism was the latter's abstract 'Platonic' philosophy.  The denial that the Egyptians were capable of abstract and philisophical thought has been the linchpin for the Aryan Model and therefore carries a lot of ideological baggage.  This can be the only reason why proof that Egyptians could think in terms of abstract religion, which was published 80 years ago, has received such little attention.  The proof comes from a text generally called 'Memphite Theology', {James Breasted} which dates back to the 2nd or 3rd millenium.  The 'Theology' describes a cosmogony according to which Ptah, the local god of Memphis, and his emanation Atum, were the primal beings.  Ptah created the world in his heart, the seat of his mind, and actualized it through his tongue, the act of speech.  This...looks remarkably like the Platonic and Christian 'logos', the

  "Word' which already was, the Word dwelt with God, and what God was, the

  Word was. The Word then was with God at the beginning, and through Him,

  all things came to be.(John 1,1)"


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