Monday, March 3, 2014

The Egyptian Royal Name Onitah in LDS Book of Abraham 1:11

The Prophet Joseph Smith, in his inspired Book of Abraham, introduces us to a previously unknown scion of the Egyptian royal descent: Onitah.

Now, this priest had offered upon this altar three virgins at one time, who were the daughters of Onitah, one of the royal descent directly from the loins of Ham. These virgins were offered up because of their virtue; they would not bow down to worship gods of wood or of stone, therefore they were killed upon this altar, and it was done after the manner of the Egyptians (Abraham 1:11). 

Daughters of Onitah either refers to a father and daughters or it refers to an ancestral patriarch or king from whom these daughters trace a royal lineage. At any rate, Onitah marks a legitimate archaic line, as "one of the royal descent directly from the loins of Ham." Did later Pharaohs persecute descendants of the archaic line? We cannot tell. Perhaps Daughters of Onitah names a particular social group (like the Inka panaca), with attendant ritual obligations. Failure to conform to cultic duty brought on the dire consequence. 

Hugh Nibley has much to say about the archaic theme of the sacrifice of the three virgins, being "august virgins of the royal line set apart as spouses of the god," or "ritual hierodules." In like manner, "the line of virgin priestesses. . . who enjoyed a position which at Thebes was virtually royal," later appears in the institution of the "God's Wife of Amun" (Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Abraham, 397-403, quotes fr. p. 400; the last, quoted directly from J. W. B. Barns, JEA 52 (1966), 191; Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 176-179).

The name of conservative Onitah matches First Dynasty king, Anedj-jb: 'nDj-jb, the One who is Sound (or Hale) of Heart. While ordinarily listed as the sixth king of that dynasty, the Saqqara tablet, a New Kingdom king-list, surprises by making this Anedjib or Enezib first of all Egyptian kings. Ramesses II, last in line, looks back to Anedjib (Amelie Kuhrt, The Ancient Near East, I 127-8). Two hieroglyphs make up the name: Gardiner V26, "netting needle filled with twine" and F34, the heart sign. Students of Egyptian commonly transcribe the netting needle as 'D or, later, as 'd. Yet because of the known reading 'nD or 'nd, "in the case of m'ndt" (in the Pyramid Texts), that is, the mandet, or morning-bark of Re, students often transcribe 'nD or 'nd. The choice to render the royal name as Anedjib, rather than Adj- or Odjib, follows the reading in the Pyramid Texts, which is taken as, at least, an original value of the sign (see Gardiner Sign List V26; Gardiner references Sitz. Berl. Ak. 1912, 958 and Pyr. 335.336, sim. ib. 661).

The names 'ndy.t, 'nDj, ', ', perhaps all belonging to the same verbal root, '(n)Dalso seem to have been fairly popular for both males and females in the Middle Kingdom. For attestations, see H. Ranke Die aegyptischen personennamen I 70, 11 (female, 'ndy.t: Sammlung Amherst 445); 70, 12 (male, 'nDj: Middle Kingdom Pap. Bulak 18, 38, 30 and 45. 2, 18); 72, 9 (male and female, Middle Kingdom, ' or ' (Hale! Be Well! du seiest wohlbehalten)--this last written with the biliteral sign of the netting needle). The transcription of 'nDj or 'ndj as O-n-t-a or Onitah is sound. I like a Late Period attestation: 'D-p3-T3w, Hale, or Wholesome is the Breeze (I 72, 8).

The name Anedjib, so well as the last two Middle Kingdom names cited, both written with the netting needle (Ranke I 72, 8 and 9), all derive from the verb 'D or 'd (orig. 'nD?), which signifies "to be in good condition" (Gardiner Sign List, V26; Wb I:208, 237-38: wohlbehalten sein, unversehrt; 'D wD3: wohlbehalten und heil. The first two examples from the Middle Kingdom, though written alphabetically and not showing the netting needle, likely also have the same derivation.

Onitah is a Sound Name, a name of historical Integrity; the historicity of the Book of Abraham remains Hale and Hearty. The Book of Mormon yields a few Egyptian names of its own, e.g., Paanchi, Pahoran, Pacumeni, Zenephi (z3-Nephi, son of Nephi).

Abraham indeed evinces several hitherto unknown names of pure Egyptian and West Semitic vintage: 

1) Onitah (E: 'nDj, Sound, Hale) 

2) Olimlah (E: Great is Amun-Re, Wrj-jmn-r'; I magnify Ra, Wr-n(.j)-r', Hugh Nibley) 

3) Shulem (WS, from Ebla: Reconciled, Hugh Nibley) 

4) Olishem (WS, compare the attested place name that Christopher Woods transcribes as   Ulishim; perhaps from 'ly shm, the High Place of Heaven, Hugh Nibley) 

5) Jershon (WS, Place of Inheritance, Stephen Ricks, Book of Mormon Onomasticon           Project). 

Also introducing. . . 

6) the princess Katumin (E: Qdw-jmn, Qdw-mn, Amun (or Min) created (me); less likely is K3(.j)-dj(.w)-jmn, my ka is the one Amun has given. The Egyptian grapheme would have been realized as phonetic /t/.)

To these, we can also add a new place name:

7) Mount Hanabal, from Joseph Smith Translation Genesis 14: 10 (WS: Hanna-Ba'al, Ba'al is Gracious). 

Critics of the Book of Abraham's setting in Ancient Syria and Egypt have a lot of explaining to do. 


Olishem: Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Abraham, 415.
Additional comments in Val Sederholm, "The Plain of Olishem and the Field of Abram"

Ulishim: Christopher Woods, "The Practice of Egyptian Religion at 'Ur of the Chaldees'?" pages 89-91, in Robert K. Ritner, The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyrus: A Complete Edition (2013).

Olimlah: Hugh Nibley, Abraham in Egypt, 587-88 (Wr-jmn-r' = Hermann Ranke, Die Aegyptischen Personennamen, 1:80; Wr-n(.j)-rj = Konrad Hoffmann, "Die theophoren Personennamen des aelteren Aegyptens," Untersuchungen zur Geschichte und Altertumskunde Aegyptens, 7:51-51)

Shulem: Hugh Nibley, Abraham in Egypt, 451. Hugh Nibley calls Shulem a "good Syrian and Canaanite" name; Ebla PN's Database gives the reading Reconciled.

Hanabal: Val Sederholm, "Joseph Smith and Hannibal: Mount Hanabal in Joseph Smith Translation Genesis 14:10"

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The god of Elkenah in Hieroglyphs and in the LDS Book of Abraham


We are not coming to terms with the Pearl of Great Price as we should, unless, by its study, we also magnify our view of the ancients and, thereby, open "startling new avenues for exploration." By reading the scriptures, we thus come to see things as they once really were.

The Book of Abraham introduces the surprised reader to a hitherto unknown god, the "god of Elkenah," and to his priest, who meets Abraham at an altar of sacrifice.

Might the name Elkenah be found in Egyptian hieroglyphs? his image appear on a pharaonic stele? Yes and yes.

Is the name authentic? Hugh Nibley, writing in 1969, sorts through evidence for the name Elkenah (or, as variously spelled, Elkkener, Elkkeenah), and mulls over its several possible meanings in both Canaanite and Egyptian (Improvement Era, August 1969 = An Approach to the Book of Abraham, 313-319; cf. also John Gee, Stephen D. Ricks, "Historical Plausibility: The Historicity of the Book of Abraham as a Case Study," in Paul Y. Hoskisson, ed., Historicity and the Latter-day Saint Scriptures, BYU, 2001).

More recently, Kevin Barney has drawn up a thorough brief for Elkenah. Among plausible solutions he reconsiders the well-known Canaanite god, El qny, and also discusses the Hittite-Hurrian spelling of El qny in the form Elkunirsha (qny 'rs, Creator of the earth). Even so, Kevin Barney cannot decide whether Elkenah should take the q or the k. Is Elkenah, El qenah (El the Creator or Possessor) or El kan'a (El of Canaan)? (Kevin L. Barney, "On Elkenah as Canaanite El," Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 19/1 (2010), 22-35.) Hugh Nibley saw in Elkkenner a spelling, however bizarre in Roman letters, indicative of Semitic /q/.

Elkenah is an authentic name.

A touch of the genuine may well be found on a Syrian stele commemorating Ramesses the Great, the Bashan stele, first identified in 1884. Because locals saw in the stone a seat for ancient Job, students tag the stele the "Job stone." Perhaps soon it will be better known as a New Kingdom reflection of Abraham's milieu. 


The Bashan Stele of Ramesses II gives a good example of how the Pearl of Great Price can help in puzzle-solving. (For bibliography see K. A. Kitchen, Ramesside Inscriptions, II 223, 6;  for both bibliography and discussion, see also James Hoch, Semitic Words in Egyptian Texts of the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, 327; Izak Cornelius, The Iconography of the Canaanite Gods Reshef and Ba'al: Late Bronze and Iron Age I Periods (c 1500-1000 BCE, Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 140 (1994), page 145.)

In what remains of the depictions and engravings on the 2 meter basalt stele, we first note the name and image of Ramesses the Great. Ramesses, wearing the blue crown, lifts the image of the goddess Ma'at, sitting in a basket, to a divinity wearing an Osirian Atef Crown--but this is not Osiris. The Atef, "in this case, in relation to this subject" (as Joseph Smith might say), uncharacteristically sports a long, curved horn (a bull's horn?), maybe two horns. An accompanying label, in the special syllabic "group" writing used for Semitic words and names, gives the divinity's name.

The first signs spell the Canaanite name for their high god, El, or Ilu. Then come the outstretched arms, which customarily write the syllable k3 and, presumably, in group writing, ku or ko, followed by the hieroglyph n, and signs likely expressing the vowel -ah. Further group writing next yields Dapuna, Mount Zaphon, the Levantine Olympus. We thus have, at least graphemically, El k-n-a Zaphon.

The exact lexemic reading of the name has never been settled.

James Hoch suggests El Kolia, God the Restrainer, and--to be sure--the n-grapheme can sometimes be read as l. Yet no other attestation of El Kolia exists. Both Giveon and de Moor read: jr k3nj D3p3n, "Canaanite 'l kn tspn" Ilu creator of Zaphon or Ilu establishes Zapon. or Possessor of Zapon). As everyone notes, the k3 or k doesn't match the q sign. But what of the Hurrian-Hittite divine name, matching El qny yet written with the k, via the cuneiform sign ku: El Kunirsha, (Ilu possessor, creator of the earth)? With this last name in mind, De Moor asserts: "The inscription runs i-r3-k3-n-i D3-p3-n and should be interpreted as 'il qny tsaphon El the Creator of the Zaphon" (Johannes C. de Moor, "Ugarit and Israelite Origins," 217-18, in Congress Volume Paris 1992, ed., J.A. Everton).

We await more evidence before deciding on El qny. Still, given 1) the fact of discovery in Syria, 2) the egyptianizing crown of the Canaanite divinity, and 3) a name attesting El with attribute k-n-a (whatever that sequence of graphemes may signify), any reader of the Book of Abraham will exclaim: Abraham Chapter One, the god of Elkenah!

Again, it is not so much an aggregating of evidence for the Book of Abraham that may concern us, as it is reading and understanding the Book of Abraham to elucidate the ancients and thus to resolve questions, puzzles, mysteries. Can Abraham's record actually contribute to our understanding of open matters like the Bashan stele? That is the question.

While we may not opt for a particular reading as yet, can there be any difficulty in positing, in light of the Book of Abraham, an unresolved "Elkenah" (or Elkunah/Elkonah), that is, Elkenah Zapon? The name, here, could either mean, as some have it, God (El), the Creator (qny, qnh) of Zapon (the mountain shrine of the Canaanites), or as that particular Elkenah (God the Producer, or Creator), who is worshipped at Zaphon.


Potiphar's Hill at the head of the plain of Olishem reflects lofty, even celestial, Zaphon. (According to Hugh Nibley, 'ly shm, signifies "Height of Heaven.") Is Elkenah's Potiphar's Hill to be equated with El q-n-a's Zaphon? According to de Moor, the record does attest local versions of Zaphon, all reflections of that first and foremost Zaphon, which is itself, after all, a palatial reflection of the heavenly home. Is Dapuna (cf. Libnah), in fact, the god who is named the god of Elkenah at Potiphar's Hill? Is the priest of Elkenah, who is also the priest of Pharaoh (as the Book of Abraham attests), a stand-in for the kingly figure who offers to El q-n-a at Dapuna qua the local hilltop at Bashan? Hilltops, mountains, Dapana, Zaphon, Bashan, Olishem, Potiphar's Hill--all come together in Elkenah.

According to Johannes C. de Moor: "The Job-stele implies that according to the local mythology [shall we say, the local ceremonial?] El had dispossessed Baal of his mountain Zaphon. Where the stone was erected had apparently been re-named 'Zaphon.' Wandering of geographic names is a common phenomenon" (217-18). For instance, the name of Mount Moriah, where Abraham offers his son, Isaac, transfers onto Mount Zion, which itself comes to bear the name Zaphon (Psalm 48:3), and "a promontory in the sea near Lake Serbonis" (the Egyptian Delta) becomes Zaphon (218). 

Zaphon in Egypt and in Canaan? Canaanite El, wrought in bronze and wearing Osiris' Atef crown, appears elsewhere, and in smiting pose. As with the god, so with the priest: the priest of Elkenah, who is also the priest of Pharaoh, stretches forth his hand to smite Abraham on the altar. What Abraham Chapter One describes is a ritual combat, the combat at world's creation for the possession of the earth, the seas, the mountains, the netherworld, etc. Potiphar's Hill, like Zaphon for Ba'al or Ilu, becomes the locus of Victory. If I read my Nibley and the Book of Abraham rightly, the combat being played out is between Sirius and the Sun, rivals for cosmic rule ("the god of Shagreel, who is the sun"). Elkenah, who, at essence, merges with the Egyptian Sun, is the victor, whether on cosmic mountain or at local hill. Yet Abraham's God wins the battle and obtains possession. And what of Mount Moriah? 

And what of Bashan? Here we meet "not the weak, old god who is on the verge of surrendering his position to Baal of Zaphon," but "an El who sought to oust Baal," even "a contender for the position of supreme god" (de Moor, 218). The Aten contends against the same adversary, according to a letter sent to Pharaoh by the king of Tyre (218). And the Sun brings us back to Heliopolis. "Egyptian ritual and literature," says Nibley, "often give us fleeting glimpses of the setup at On." Thus at On (Heliopolis) "the false pretender from the south is 'cast down from upon the hill on the east of On' to sink into the waters of death at its foot" (Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Abraham, 412). In the likeness of Abraham 1, where the priest of Elkenah "was smitten that he died," we find Hadrian in AD 129 sacrificing at Zaphon. And "when he sacrificed, a storm came up and lightning struck both victim and officiant" (John Pairman Brown, Israel and Hellas I).

According to John Pairman Brown, the idea of Zaphon, as translated to its various localities, is that of victory over the waters, as represented by the sea monster, monster waves, and, indeed, the crocodile found on Abraham, Facsimile 1. Thus the victory over Pharaoh at the crossing of the Red Sea also takes place in the vicinity of Baal-Zaphon, i.e., Mount Kasios (John Pairman Brown, Israel and Hellas I, "Excursus B: The god of Kasios and his adversary"). Note again how there is more than one Mount Kasios = Zaphon, each associated with Baal-Zaphon and the victory over the waters.


Hugh Nibley often refers to Moses 1:25 and its theme of kingly victory over the cosmic waters: 

And he heard a voice saying: Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God.

The manuscript copy of Moses 1:25 reads more precisely and more Hebraically: 

thou shall be made stronger than the many waters for they shall obey thy command even as if thou wert God

(Joseph Smith PapersDocuments I:55; cf. Doctrine and Covenants 21:4-6)

Joseph Smith Translation Old Testament Manuscript 2 clarifies what it means to speak for God:

for they shall obey thy command even as my commandments

(cited in Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, In God's Image and Likeness, 61 = S. H. Faulring, et al., Original Manuscripts, 593).

The same delegation of Divine authority heralds the present dispensation (6 April 1830):

"The church [shall] give heed unto all his words and commandments. . . For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth." As promise for obedience, in a cosmic, even cosmogonic victory (v. 6), "the gates of hell shall not prevail," "the powers of darkness" will be dispersed, and "the heavens" "shake" (Doctrine and Covenants 21:4-6).


The reader sees in the investiture of Moses a reference to the Red Sea crossing, and also to Mara made sweet and Meribah (see Hugh Nibley, "To Open the Last Dispensation: Moses Chapter 1," in Nibley on The Timely and The Timeless, 5, 12; ib., Enoch the Prophet, 157-8; 297 n. 300; Hugh Nibley, Michael Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 87-88; Hugh Nibley, "The Circle and the Square, in Temple and Cosmos, 157; ib., Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price, Lecture 18, 4-5; see now also Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, In God's Image and Likeness, 60-1; 96). "The king," says Hugh Nibley of the Year Rite, a reenactment of both creation and  coronation, "must emerge victorious at the moment of passing through the waters of life, death, rebirth, and purification, and the ancients always understood Moses' leading his people through the Red Sea as the type and similitude of a baptism, symbolizing at one and the same time death, birth, victory, and purification from sins" (Enoch the Prophet, 158).

We can now see why Joseph Smith so oddly adds the label Red Sea to the description of the Galilee in Isaiah 8-9. The powers of darkness afflict the land and the people walk in darkness. They then see a great light of deliverance and herald the birth of the King of Kings. The "way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations" perforce symbolically reflects, another event, that of the Red Sea--and vice-versa (2 Nephi 19:1; JST Isaiah 9:1-2; cf. the Targum Jonathan). Jordan, Galilee, and the Red Sea, like the "wandering names" of Zaphon, are thus brought into one, each brightly reflecting the other (see my "2 Nephi 19:1 and the Red Sea," posted on 2 March 2010).

The subjugation of "the many waters" (ha-mayim rabbim) to the Divine command also clearly references the Divine cosmogony, including things only hinted at in the Bible. Yet Joseph Smith revealed Moses Chapter One decades prior to the decipherment of cuneiform, and a century and more prior to the discovery of the libraries at Ugarit and Ebla. And note how the words in the Book of Moses about the Divine subjugation of the many waters, described as coming from a voice of the Almighty Himself, precedes a detailed account of the Creation. It is the voice of God Himself, through his Prophet Joseph Smith, not that of 19th century students, which announces to moderns the motif of the cosmogonic battle against the powers of the waters.

In Abraham's story, the Canaanite god, who is the Possessor, Controller, Creator, Producer confronts the God of Abraham, who is also the God of Melchizedek, even the Most High God, the Possessor (El qoneh) of Heaven and Earth (Genesis 12). Pharaoh, and all kings else, cede the day to Melchizedek. According to Professor Brown: "Hebrews historicized the [Zaphon combat] myth at several points," viz., creation, flood, Red Sea crossing, return from exile (99). So why not Abraham at Potiphar's Hill at the Plain of Olishem? We do see Abraham at the Slaughter of the Kings at Shaveh and on Mount Moriah, but the terrifying encounter at Olishem finds a trace only in the Nimrod-Abraham legends (Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes, One Eternal Round). Something went missing from the Bible.

Why all these historical moments of cosmic import--even cosmic dispute? The mayim rabbim, surging matter, says Herbert G. May, are "the intransigent elements which had to be quelled by Yahweh before creation could begin, and which must ever be defeated by him as he continues his activity in history" (Herbert G. May, "Some Cosmic Connotations of Mayim Rabbim, 'Many Waters,'" JBL 74 (1955), 11). Accordingly, as the ordering of creation continues, God makes all His servants "stronger than the many waters," as they act in the stead of God, or "even as if thou were God." Abraham at Potiphar's Hill faced Elkenah, in a dispute of priestly authority, and, in the Name of God. came off conquerer. "I will take thee, to put upon thee my name upon you, even the Priesthood of thy father" (Abraham 1:18). The reverberation of that moment of victory resounds for the seed of Abraham throughout all subsequent history.

Consider Fishing River and Zion's Camp. Armed men, numbering in the hundreds, planned the "utter destruction" of Joseph Smith and the Camp. A cannonade was begun. But "it seemed as if the mandate of vengeance had gone forth from the God of battles, to protect His servants from the destruction of their enemies." A momentous torrent of rain and hail swamped the mob, as "the water rose thirty feet in thirty minutes in the Little Fishing river." One man was felled by lightning, others drowned, horses fled. The Camp found shelter in an old, hilltop Baptist meeting-house. "As the Prophet Joseph came in shaking the water from his hat and clothing he said, 'Boys, there is some meaning to this, God is in this storm" ("As the Prophet": "Wilford Woodruff's note in Ms. History of the Church, Book A, p.332"; History of the Church II: 102-106).

On the Bashan stele we find traces of Ramesses. He wears the blue crown of coronation and of the warrior-conqueror, clearly marking him as one who seeks possession of the whole earth. So arrayed, he pauses, like great Alexander, to pacify the foreign Elkenah Zapon, though far from Mount Zaphon itself, by offering the image of little Ma'at, gentle daughter of Amun-Re.

All else on the stele is obliterated. Of conquering Ramesses, "nothing beside remains."

The Book of Abraham remains. 

Earth remains--and Olishem and Potiphar's Hill, though unrecognized, still bear their solemn witness.


Both Abraham Chapter One and Moses Chapter One open with a common theme: the triumph of God over the forces of sky, earth, water, and the powers of men.

Worthy of a brief note is how all four Sons of Horus (or Geb) names in the Book of Abraham reflect business affairs:

Elkenah (possessing, acquiring)

Zibnah (to sell = if zbn; it also evokes Dapuna, Zpn)

Mahmackrah (Semitic: mmkr, to sell)

Koresh (according to the Prophet's biography, the clan of Quraysh also has the meaning of business acquisition).

The Egyptian Name of Joseph: Zaphnath-paaneah in the LDS Book of Joseph and Book of Abraham Facsimile 2


Joseph's Egyptian name, Zaphnath-paaneah, as rendered into Hebrew script, presents a puzzle, and many have proposed a solution. I enjoy all such efforts sufficiently to wish to put my own hand into the game.

The Book of Abraham likewise puzzles us with names purporting to be Egyptian: Onitah, Olimlah, On-dosh. For all of these, not having the hieroglyphic Vorlage, we enjoy broad scope for speculation. And a latter-day Joseph invites "the world" to give it a go, to "find out these numbers" (Explanation for Book of Abraham Facsimile 2). 

Genesis 41:41-45 reads:

41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.

42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck.

44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.

 45 And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnath-paaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.

Accession to office requires 1) a new vesture (and a ring), 2) a special name, and 3) marriage into an official priestly inheritance. None of these things can be separated from any of the others. Clothing, naming, marriage, office, and priesthood here make up a single Heliopolitan constellation. And, as every reader notes, accession also signals a reversal of fortunes. Potiphar, master and jailer, finds replacement in a priest of like name, Poti-phera, a man from whom Joseph inherits all things. The name Zaphnath-paaneah must then somehow also speak to accession or reversal or both. 


"The meaning of the name Zaphnath-paaneah is a problem that has much preoccupied the commentators," says Josef Vergote (Joseph en Egypte (1959), 142; for the full discussion of Zaphnath-paaneah, Aseneth, Poti-phera, see 141-152; for Aseneth see also Jan Assmann, "Aseneth," in Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, 616-18).

Which interpretation is the best? (Who gets the golden chain?)

Kenneth Kitchen, who tags earlier attempts "weird and wonderful," opts for metathesis: Zatnap for Zapnat. (Kitchen borrows the idea from Rex Engelbach.) "Zatnap corresponds precisely to Egyptian djad(u)-naf, 'who is called...,' introducing a second name after the first-for example, 'Ankhu djad(u)-naf Hedjeri' means 'Ankhu called Hedjeri'" (Kenneth Kitchen, "The Joseph Narrative (Genesis 37, 39-50)," Bible and Spade, Winter 2003; Reginald Engelbach, "The Egyptian Name of Joseph," JEA 10, October 1924, 205). Yet Hedjeri is clearly the nickname, what the Egyptians call the Little Name (rn nDs--or later, and perhaps euphemistically, the Beautiful Name, rn nfr)--while Ankhu (Lives) is the Great Name (rn a3). Such formulations go back to the Old Kingdom: "His great name is Neferherenptah; his little name is Fifi" (see Pascal Vernus, "Name," in Lexikon der Aegyptologie IV, 320-26). The change from Hebrew Joseph to courtly Zaphnath-paaneah, or even, Pa-Aneah, partakes of something more fundamental. 

The reading most widely accepted, and thus most carefully critiqued, is that of Georg Steindorff: "God speaks (or has spoken) and he lives" (Dd-nTr-jw.f-'nx). Understood, though unstated, is also the possibility "the goddess speaks" (Dd-nTr.t). Such a reading is too generic for many: the record attests the name formula, which marks a safe birth, but only with mention of a specific god or gods. Donald Redford resolves the matter by positing "Ipet and Neith speak and he lives" (Dd-Ipt-Nt-jw.f-'nx: A Study of the Biblical Story of Joseph, 230-231). Here the p fits the goddess Ipet; Neith (nat? neit?) easily replaces Neter (the god). 

The (Krall)-Steindorff-(Redford) reading yields a name that denotes a safe birth; it perhaps also answers to the idea of restoration or renewal. Yet, already in 1901, the Jewish Encyclopedia names the weakness: "This has become popular, and is philologically possible; however, it does not convey the allusion to Joseph's office or merits which we should expect." For Redford, the author of the Joseph story, who cares nothing about context or meaning or even translating the name, merely picks an Egyptian name out of the air, "for an air of authenticity" (Donald Redford, Joseph, 231). 

That's no fun. Neither does it match the evidence. Poti-phera, "Given of the Sun," date the name how you may, does fit the priestly Heliopolis, City of the Sun; Asenath, as Neith, divine mother of Egypt, also hits the mark. No name could be more semiotically a propos. Consider the famous Joseph and Aseneth novella: "Then there is the roman a clef; the author has realized that the Egyptian name Aseneth means 'belonging to Neith.' Many almost inperceptible details of the story can only be explained as referring to the goddess of Sais" (Marc Philonenko, Encyclopaedia Judaica 11:419). Besides, the idea of Joseph and his wife both bearing Neith names hardly sustains the argument for no intent or meaning. The author of Genesis 41, however unlikely it may seem, assumes an audience capable of both cultural and linguistic code-switching.

Back to the "weird and wonderful."

Josephus heads the list of those proposing an explanation; the following latter-day students have continued the game (Vergote, 151-52):

Df3 nD p3 anx "nourishment, savior of life (A. Harkavy, 1870)

p3 snts n p3 anx "the founder of life" (A. Wiedemann). 

Weidemann's solution, which derives from the Greek Septuagint version of the name, meets with W. F. Albright's approval: p3-snT-n-p3-anx, 'the sustainer of life' (JBL 37 [1918], 132, cited in Redford, ibid., 230 n. 2)

D(d) Mnts.w iw.f anx  "Montu speaks and he lives" (J. Krall, 1888)

T-s-n-t, i.e., Ts.(t) n.t p(r) anx  "the head of the school of learning, of the sacred college," (E. Naville, 1903)

it n.t pr anx  "(member of?) college of the House of Life" (A. Erman, 1883)

D(d) p3 nT(r) iw.f anx  "the god has spoken and he lives" (G. Steindorff, 1889, as cited in Vergote, 143; Steindorf follows Krall)

Df3 n t3 pdi anx "Nourisher of the Lands, Lebensspender" (E. Mahler, 1907)

Dd.w n.f p3 anx And Pharaoh (to him) "qu'on appelle (aussi) Le Vivant": "He whom men (also) call the Living One" (R. Engelbach, 1924)

di.t xpr nt3 X.t n p3 anx  "And Pharaoh nominated Joseph 'to procure the way of life'" (H.F. Lutz, 1945)

K. Miketta (1904) critiques all--and rejects all.

If we don't take ourselves too seriously (and how could we, after looking over the notes of Naville and Erman?), we can still try our hand at the puzzle. Yet, since we face the stern eye of Miketta, it bodes well to prefer originality over success; accordingly, I play a verb which does not appear in the scholarly tally: Db3 (to clothe, adorn, put on insignia, provide with, equip with, restore, replace, give retribution, recompense, pay back).


Zaphnath does something suggest db3 nTr, an interpretation which could signify "(the One whom) the god (or goddess) shall so clothe" (that is, with office, honor, endowment, dignities). Or, as Professor Redford suggests, the element nath may signal the goddess Neith: Db3 nt, Db3 Neith, "May Neith (the goddess of weaving) clothe him." After all, the name of Joseph's bride, Asenath, likely derives from ns-nt, "belonging to Neith." The name pattern, "belonging to such-and-such a divinity," is well attested in the Old Kingdom, though wildly popular in the Late Period.

Asenath officiates in the office of Neith by endowing the king or priest with authority of office. That Joseph should be clothed by Neith need come as no surprise: as Genesis closes, we read of Joseph's mummification. And what goddess prepares and winds the mummy bands? Neith. Whether Zaphnath refers to Neith or not, it is yet that same divine mother of Egypt who weaves the insignia of his office--and who also (symbolically) weds him (see Jan Assmann, "Neith"). Neith might even appear in one of the Book of Abraham's puzzling names: Onitah. Onitah ('3 Nt, "Great is Neith"?), "one of the royal descent," is known for his three daughters, that is, daughters of Neith, as is every princess of Egypt (Abraham 1:11). Onitah also fits First Dynasty ruler, Anedj-ib; '(n)Dj, the Sound of heart, and Sound or Hale is also an attested Middle Kingdom name.

Joseph is, after all, one whom God clothes, or endows, with honor of office. The expression "arrayed him in vestures" matches Db3 mnx. Clothing in robes connotes the endowments and honors of office. First in order comes the ring, or seal, Db'.t, a word also recalling Db3. The Hebrew consonantal sequence tz-p-n-t matches Db3 + p3 nTr, Db', Db, Tb, etc. Db'.t, a nominal form, suggests "the seal of God, the Living One," or, as a verb (Db'), "the god (or goddess) will seal (place his seal on, claim ownership of) the Living One." Joseph, with his seal, evokes Solomon.

The first hurdle for any interpretation of Zaphnath-paaneah is whether it can be readily rendered back into Egyptian. The second becomes whether any such name or naming formula in fact occurs in the Egyptian record, 
so far as we can ascertain such things. Again, does the name somehow match the setting or correspond with the other Egyptian names in verse 45? 

The Egyptian record indeed attests the personal name Db3, Djeba, which frequently occurs as a male name in the Middle Kingdom (H. Ranke, Die Aegyptischen PersonennamenI, 406, 5). We also find the names Db3-nfr and Db3-snb (Good successor, Healthy successor), which both suggest the idea of the replacement of the father with a goodly son. The names suggest payback, that is, repayment for some good act. 

Db3 has the sense of something restored, repayment; Db3 nfr thus bespeaks beautiful repayment, beautiful replacement, perfect replacement (he succeeds to his father's honor and office, as a sound replacement). Compare the jdn principle by which the sun god finds manifestation and visibility, substitution and replacement through the agency of the solar disk (the jtn, or disk, becomes the jdn, or replacement, for the hidden, transcendent Amun-Re (see David Klotz, Five Hymns to Amen-Re from Hibis Temple)Db3 (Djeba) "repayer" signifies "he will repay his parents" by succeeding in life and to honor. The feminine name, Db3tysj, likewise suggests "she who will pay back": she will be a good daughter that will repay through her worth, and so graces the parents who took pains to raise her well. Db3 snb is the healthy repayer, but also he who repays health; he is the one who gives back health and soundness to the parents who raised him; he repays them with perfect things: beauty and goodness (nfr).

We discover a pattern:

Repayer in health and soundness

Repayer in goodness and perfections

She who is to repay

He whom the god repays or replaces or restores to honor, that is, Joseph restored to honor and to dignity--and from death to life.

The one who has been given back, re-placed in his fit standing; re-stored to his rightly position; and fit as a re-placement for the king; also re-clothed; redressed; and re-dressed

One whom the god has restored to grace; recalled into grace; put back into honor.

Joseph had lost everything and descended below all; now he is restored, given retribution many times over, provided and equipped with power and authority. He stands the worthy replacement, substitute, likeness of the king himself, clothed and endowed with power. R
estored to his dream-destiny, chosen Joseph, thereby, qualifies to marry the princess, the daughter of the "One given of Re," the high priest of Heliopolis. She now "belongs to you" (to evoke Kitchen's analysis of the name Asenath).

I do not believe anyone has suggested--perhaps tossed out?--such an interpretation of the name, but it works. Here are three tries--though, alas! no charm:

And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnath-paaneah, which is, being interpreted, the god shall clothe the Living One with honor of office (or restore the Living One).

The sentence Db3-p3-nTr [or nTr.t]-p3-anxy makes up both the action of naming--the pronouncement of the name--as well as the complete personal name itself, with Paanchi being what might be called the name within the name, the heart of the matter.

Thus: And Pharaoh pronounced [vayyiqra' = spoke out, pronounced, called] Joseph's name, as follows: May the god clothe with honor of office--the Living One.

And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnath-paaneah, which, being interpreted, May Neith (the Living One) clothe (or Neith shall clothe) the Living One with honor of office.  

And Pharaoh called Joseph's Name Zaphnath-paaneah, which being interpreted is, May the god so seal the Living One [P3 Ankh or Pi-Anki, Ranke, 103, 1 and 2: p3 anx and p3 anx.i; cf. Book of Mormon Onomasticon, q.v. Paanchi]

The reading, the Living One, puts both Naville and Erman back into the game; for, as any student familiar with Professor Derchain's edition of papyrus Salt 825 knows, the mysterious character standing at the center of the House of Life (pr anx) is the "Living One" (p3 anxy). The Living One, the resurrected Re-Osiris, not only personifies the House of Life, he thus also personifies, or combines within himself, its fourfold ceremonies that give Life its continuance. Joseph has also been restored to life--raised from the dead. And it is Hugh Nibley who notes how the Living One, in the Ritual of the House of Life, standing in the midst of the four houses that make up that great library-temple, also evokes four-faced Kolob of the Egyptian hypocephali (Improvement Era, August 1969 = An Approach to the Book of Abraham).

Facsimile 2 of the Book of Abraham, a hypocephalus, links the word Db3 with Heliopolis (Heb. On). "I am the Djebabty in the House of the ben-ben in Heliopolis": These are the words describing the Kolob figure, or the Transcendent Amun, at the center of all things. By marrying the daughter of the priest of Heliopolis, Joseph becomes the lieutenant of Poti-phera's priestly honor just as surely as he is the king's own lieutenant. He may not exactly be an Egyptian priest, but he does stand as a beneficiary of that priesthood and acts under that authority. Joseph in Heliopolis now becomes what we might call the Db3.ty (the One belonging to or pertaining to the Db3) in the temple of Heliopolis.

Joseph marries the priesthood, meaning its rites and privileges, its honors and dignities. Note how the text does not link any of this to idolatry. After all, "She belongs to you": all that she inherits now belongs to Joseph.

Clothing, marriage, priesthood, Heliopolis: Is it Abraham Facsimile 2 or Genesis 41 we have to do with here? The Book of Joseph merges with the Book of Abraham.


For more on Josephus, Lepsius, and Steindorff, see

Edouard Naville, "The Egyptian Name of Joseph," JEA 12 1/2 
(1926), 16-18.

For more on Joseph and Aseneth see Marc Philonenko, Joseph et Aseneth and Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 413-420.

Monday, January 13, 2014

An Egyptologist Looks at Enish-go-on-dosh in LDS Book of Abraham, Facsimile 2, Figure 5

I  An Egyptian Name?

The Prophet Joseph Smith begins his explanation of Figure 5 (the Hathor cow) on Facsimile 2 of the Book of Abraham with these words: "Is called in Egyptian Enish-go-on-dosh; this is one of the governing planets also, and is said by the Egyptians to be the Sun." He speaks further of a certain "governing power" or "grand key" by means of which the sun, in successive cascade, receives its own light and power. The transfer of stellar and solar light appears often in Egyptian art and scripture (see Note 1).

(For Book of Abraham Facsimile 2, an Egyptian hypocephalus, see:

Is the name Enish-go-on-dosh Egyptian? Nothing about its form precludes such an origin, and it can certainly be so read. A larger question becomes whether any plausible Egyptian reading of the name also matches what we see on Facsimile 2 or the Explanation given by the Prophet. Can the name or like names be found in the hieroglyphic record? Or does Enish-go-on-dosh, in any way, recall Egyptian names for heavenly bodies? for example, Hor-dosh-dawy, a name for Jupiter? Mars as Hor-dosh? or spectacular Saturn, Hor-ko-pi-ranef-siu-yaminty-jo-pi?

The Latter-day Saints need not prove anything to a non-reflective and unbelieving world. We just have to be grateful. "Fools mock, but they shall mourn" (Ether 12:26). A seer gives insight into things "which otherwise could not be known" (Mosiah 8:17). Everybody already "knows" Re, Horus, Isis. The names the Prophet supplies, we must remember, likely describe the various figures in light of their constellative placement on the hypocephalus. The word to keep in mind is nuance--and note the Prophet's careful qualifiers: "In this case, in relation to this subject," the Sun is not "called in Egyptian" Re or Rait (the female sun), rather Enish-go-on-dosh (see Explanation for Facsimile 1, Figure 12). As Sir J. Norman Lockyer pointed out long ago, the Egyptians had special Horus names for "the planets and constellations when rising" (The Dawn of Astronomy, 149, italics added; f
or the names of the planets, Heinrich Brugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionum Aegyptiacarum I, 67ff., published 1883).

Professor Kent Weeks further reminds the egyptologist, for whom such seeming ordinary things "can be terribly misleading," that labels, colors, names often speak to states, stages, phases, actions; they are not fixed stars ("Art, Word, and the Egyptian World View," in Egyptology and the Social Sciences, 63ff; see also Bernard Mathieu, "Horus: polysemie et metamorphoses d'un dieu," ENIM 6 (2013), 1-26). Long-established, generic animal names may thus turn out to name an animal in a particular ritual setting alone or at a precise stage in its growth. Any number of names and epithets may, accordingly, attach themselves to any one of Egypt's divinities to describe specific roles or honors. Even an ordinary color word like dshr (pronounce: dosh or tosh) ultimately shows up the much-thumbed lexicon as being circular in definition and thus "nothing very imaginative." Dshr is not "just" dictionary red--it's also yellow, orange, pink.

Consider the following alternative name--a dosh name, no less--for one of the Sons of Horus, which, "in this case," as one of the Seven Akhu, is said to be a star, a red star: Dosh-iati-imi-hawt-ins (the One whose two eyes are red [dSr.(ty) j3t.ty], who dwells in the House of Scarlet [Hw.t jnsw.t], i.e., in the Horizon, sometimes also called the House of Dosh [Hw.t dSr.wt]). Dosh-iati-imi-hawt-ins? Find that in the handbooks. Track down your local egyptologist. And let's certainly be grateful the Prophet spared the Latter-day Saints a like embarrassing monstrosity! Dosh?! Posh! Every bit as nonsensical appears Enish-go-on-dosh, which formally recalls the very same name, though in reverse order (as if, jns-go-on-dosh = dosh-go-on-jns).

O, do go-on! And let's start by reviewing the iconography of Facsimile 2.

II The Sons of Geb, and Horus the Eldest in the Likeness of Kolob

In the Lower Panel of the hypocephalus we find the bird-serpent Nehebkau offering the Wedjat Eye to the enthroned Horus Min. Next we see that same Eye personified as the lady Wedjat, who, in her turn, conveys the power she embodies to the Hathor Cow (or Rait, the feminine sun and Eye of Re). Directly facing Hathor, next appear, in row, the four mummified Sons of Horus or of Geb, as the case may be, followed by the solar cryptogram of Lotus-Lion-Ram, a riddle of solar renewal. The stage-by-stage transfer of vital, renewing energy is what the Wedjat Eye is all about. The sun is about to rise. (For a full discussion of the panel see Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes, One Eternal Round, and Hugh Nibley, "The Three Facsimiles of the Book of Abraham," Provo: 1980.) 

Professor Weeks's insistence on specificity ought to be taken to heart; for, "in this case, in relation to this subject," the four genies or b3.w (manifestations) may well represent the Sons of Geb. By Sons (ms.w) the Egyptians meant the instantaneous and fourfold spatial emanation of Geb, the god of the earth. "Represents this earth in its four quarters," is how the Prophet Joseph explains the matter (see Bernard Mathieu, "Les enfants d'Horus, theologie et astronomie," ENIM 1 (2008), 7-14). The Sons of Geb also take their place in the busy transfer of the Eye, distributing its power to the four quarters of the earth, as "they traverse [xnzj] both the South and the Land North" (Pyramid Texts 1510a-c, cited in Mathieu, 13). Already in the Pyramid Texts, the four genies find their essential identity in the four winds blowing from the quarters of the earth (Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Abraham, 296-334, makes the case for the Sons of Horus as the four quarters, four elements, four winds, four stars, etc.; for the winds, 302-04).

If the Sons of Horus in their manifestation as Geb surprises, what shall we say when we learn that Horus, "in this case," is not Horus at all--at least not Horus of the handbooks? It is Horus Smsw (Horus the Eldest), the archaic sky god, we meet in the Four Sons, not Horus, son of Osiris. Smsw? Just behind the four genies runs, top to bottom, the cryptogram of Lotus-Lion-Ram (zrp.t-m3wj-zr), which can be also read acrophonically as zmz or sms.w, with reference to the Sun as the Eldest. Perhaps the genies on the hypocephalus represent the Sons of Horus Smsw, after all. 

In the Kirtland Egyptian Papers it is Kolob who is "the Eldest of the stars;" in Coffin Texts VII 491h Horus the Eldest takes his transcendent place in the middle (Hr-jb = "over the heart") of both the northern and also the southern stars. The Egyptian reads "in the middle of the stars of the upper region and of the opposing lower region," a cosmic view matching the schema of the opposing halves of the hypocephalus. (For the solar cryptograms, Marie-Louise Ryhiner "A propos de trigrammes pantheistes," Revue d'Egyptologie 29 (1977); for Horus Smsw, Bernard Mathieu, "Les enfants d'Horus.") What the cryptogram Lotus-Lion-Ram encapsulates is renewal--in its several stages--by means of the Wadjet Eye. The Eldest and his universal plan thus find renewal, only to appear on the horizon--which stars encompass--as the fourfold-in-emanation and, thus, Transcendent Cosmic Amun-Re, "the wonder of Abraham." (For the Cosmic Amun-Re on the hypocephalus, see David Klotz, Adoration of the Ram: Five Hymns to Amun-Re from Hibis Temple [New Haven, 2006].)

III A Study in Scarlet

Horus Smsw and the Sons of Geb are not the one-stop stuff on which egyptological handbooks are made. Handbooks, zealously reinforcing a smattering of half-truths, divert the uncertain visitor, while leading the student to err. So what about the name Enish-go-on-dosh? Shall we reject it out of hand because the handbook harps on Re rather than on Rait, Horus the Eldest, or Zarpot-Mawj-Zer, to name a few; on the Sons of Horus rather than Geb's Sons, Shu's Sons, or Atum's Sons? Let's toss the handbook in favor of our minds.

The first part of the name, Enish-go-, recalls an attribute of the Wedjat Eye as the Living Eye ('nx.t): Life itself (ankh). 'nx.t, a designation of Hathor as Wedjat Eye, thus curiously matches Hebrew Hawah (Eve) as the mother of all living. 'nx.t shows the feminine ending -.t, often dropped in pronunciation; the /x/-phoneme resembles Scottish loch, or, later, /sh/. Anesh- or Enish-go ('nx.t-q3j.t) may accordingly designate the "exalted Living Wedjat Eye." On-dosh suggests both 'n(n) dsh (the One who turns back at the [solsticial or solar] borders) and 'n.t-dsh (the Beautiful one [the beautiful Eye] at the borders). It is no infrequent thing for a goddess to bear an epithet beginning with 'n.t or 'jn.t (one Coptic spelling of which, auon, noted by John Darnell, sufficiently matches our -on). Hathor, the Feminine Sun at Dendera, takes the epithet 'n.t x'w, the One who is beautiful [on-] in her manifestations [-go = x'w?], that is, in her manifestations as the solar Eye. Other readings, both semantically and semiotically linked, spring to mind. Consider ond-dosh(t): 'n or 'jn.ty dSr.ty (the One whose Wedjat Eye is red [with anger]). 'n.t dSr(.ty) matches the attested dSr or dSr.ty jr.ty dosht-iat). I favor reading Enish-go-on-dosh as the Exalted (-go = q3j.t) Red Solar Eye (jnsj.t), even the Beautiful Eye in its Red Resplendence ('n.t dshr.wt).

In fact, none of these can be excluded, for it is in the nature of Egyptian to allow for more than one reading, especially where paronomasia and riddling come into play. Though capturing Egyptian in the absence of hieroglyphs perforce remains a delicate matter, an interpretation centering on the Wedjat Eye and its beauty (especially as manifest in the female sun), and on the working of solar reversal and renewal partakes of such peculiar and specific clarity that we can approach rigorous demonstration.

It is also typical of the Egyptians to clothe their deities with many symbolic names. Book of the Dead Chapter 148 lists the names of the seven solar Hathor cows. Seven becomes the number of fullness, for the seven names in fact make up a single elaborated Name. One version of the list gives the following names or name:

She great of love, red of hair;/
oh foremost one residing in the mansion of the red one, beautiful rudder of the southern sky,/
she who is united with life, she of the red cloth.

(John C. Darnell, The Enigmatic Books of the Solar-Osirian Unity: Cryptographic Compositions in the Tombs of Tutankamun, Ramesses VI, and Ramesses IX, dissertation, 105; cf. also the translation of the chapter in Raymond O. Faulkner, The Book of the Dead, p. 142, and especially the various names found in BM 10471. The plate appears on p. 147).

"Red of hair" translates Egyptian dSr.t Snj.t (red of circuit, i.e., the circlets of hair--which also suggests the solar circuit). "Mansion of the red one" (the red horizon) corresponds to Hw.t dSr.t; which may also be read "she of redness" or "of the red solar eye." DSr.t (the /r/ comes to be dropped in pronunciation) matches -dosh, while Jns.t suggests Enish. The unique name-chain 
packs in a world complete: Solar Eye, Horizon, Redness, Scarlet, the Solar Circuit, the Beautiful Rudder (gubernator = "one of the governing planets also") of the Southern Sky. Given such an elaborated naming of redness for the Hathorian sun, can anyone lightly dismiss Hathor as Enish-go-on-dosh, "said by the Egyptians to be the sun?"

Hathor embodies the solar power as the Eye. Dimitri Meeks and Christine Favard-Meeks note how Hathor's unblushing depiction "as a female countenance seen face-on" evokes "the face-to-face encounter between the sun and the element in which he [she?] appears at the moment of the creation [cf. the four Sons as elemental and spatial emanation]. Thus Hathor can represent the solar eye" (The Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods, 236). No wonder Hathor's symbol is the mirror; she reflects creative light and power distributing it throughout all creation. The Wedjat-lady of figure 5, whose head is the Wedjat Eye itself, recalls that mirror. The Latin (and Greek) verb re-flect conveys the exact notion found in the Egyptian 'nn (-on?), that is, curving, shaping, turning, bending, refraction. Hathor, in a seasonal about-face at Winter Solstice, turns back ('nn) the visage of the hidden sun to a forlorn world. Each reflection also marks an upward turn on the cosmic ladder, from light to light, in a dazzling ascent.

And yet her face is masked (see Nibley, Abraham in Egypt, 433). The face of the sun merely masks the divinity behind the glory. For the Egyptians names are masks. Joseph Smith never comes closer to the spirit of the ancients than with his elaborate and breath-taking cosmological names: "I know you and I know your name; I know the names of the seven cows and their bull" (Book of the Dead, Chapter 148, tr. Raymond O. Faulkner). The Red Name of the Bee, a great and ineffable mystery, is, says Hugh Nibley, the most sacred name of all ("The Deseret Connection," Abraham in Egypt; for the bee symbolism, see also my post, "Joseph Smith Translation Exodus 34:1-2: The Holy Order and the Migration Bees"). Marguerite Rigoglioso finds the closest links between Hathor, the cows, bees, "governing stars" (i.e., the Pleiades), and doves. Oceanus, the celestial sea, encompasses them all--exactly as on the hypocephalus (The Cult of Divine Birth in Ancient Greece; cf. Facsimile 2, fig. 5).  : . Enish-go-on-dosh is such a hidden name, a mask within a mask. As Heraclitus says: Nature loves to hide. 

IV  Brother Joseph Hits the Mark

We return to Book of the Dead Chapter 148, which plays, to a fare-thee-well, on a multiplicity of names for the Hathor cow:

She great of love, red of hair;/
oh foremost one residing in the mansion of the red one, beautiful rudder of the southern sky,/
she who is united with life, she of the red cloth.

The phrase Hnm.t-'nx jnsj.t (she who is united with life, even she, the red one) plays on the words 'nx = 'nsh (life) and jnsj.t (the lady of redness, or scarlet). (Hathor often flows from the brush in a wine red dress.) To unite with life is here to unite with the sun on the red horizon, or "mansion of the red one" (the hw.t dshrw: tosh): red (jns) thus answers to life ('nx). T
he color word jnsj comes from a bright red linen called jnsj. Yet because the Woerterbuch (I, 100.14) also lists jnsj.t as a name of the Eye of Horus, we can link jnsj.t and 'nx.t, the last also being a name for the Female Solar Eye (cf. Woerterbuch I, 100 passim). Unsurprisingly, dshr.t also names or describes the red Eye of Horus (Woerterbuch V, 489; see also Bernard Mathieu, "Les couleurs dans le Textes des Pyramides"). 

The elaborated double red name, which brings together both dSr and jns, can name either the sun or a governing star: take your pick. After all, a bright red star perfectly images the great sun. An unusual, playfully elaborated name for one of the Sons of Horus ("in this case," being one of the Seven Akhu stars) runs round as follows:, Dosh-iati-im-hawt-ins, He of the two red eyes, who resides in the mansion of the red one (or in the Red Mansion) (Matthias Rochholz, Schoepfung, Feindvernichtung, Regeneration, 111; pLondon BM EA 10477, l.57 = Book of the Dead Papyrus of Nu, 18 Dynasty). According to Bernard Mathieu, the Seven Akhu are stars of the greatest import. A like solar name is given variously in the Coffin Texts and elsewhere: The Red One (or: The One who belongs to Redness) who is in (or facing) his Red Linen Mansion, dSr.ty-jmj-Hw.t=f-jnsj; dSr.ty-xntj-Hw.t-jnsj; dSr-jr.ty-jmj-Hw.t-jnsj (Thesaurus Linguae Aegypticae, lemmata: Coffin Texts IV 270-1a; pLondon BM 10477, l.57). Hor-dosh-iati (dSr jr.ty) appears already in the Pyramid Texts, where it, perhaps, names the planet Mars; Horus of the Lapis-Lazuli Eyes may name Venus (Bernard Mathieu, "Horus"). And we must recall the vivid red that yet appears on a hypocephalus housed in Turin's Egyptian museum: red circles encompassing red circles, red Kolob, and red disks of the sun (best shown in a photograph by Art Pollard, on Flikr). The three Zagreb hypocephali show the same red circles. Red Kolob? The Prophet Joseph hit the mark by giving us a Hathor name burning with so much resplendent scarlet.

Because jnsj.t much recalls our Enish, I favor the following reading for Enish-go-on-dosh:

The Exalted Red Solar Eye,
even the Beautiful One (or Beautiful Eye)
in its Redness (or in its quality as the Red Eye

jns.t q3.t, 'n.t dSr ~ Anis-qo-on-dosh

Such a name or double name would answer well to the round of mornings and evenings that make up the journey of the sun about the bordering quarters of the heavens and the earth: 

The Exalted Scarlet Eye, 
The Beautiful Eye in its Deep Redness

The phrase -on-dosh, which can be read as 'n dSr (lovely in redness) may just as readily represent 'n.t dSr:

The Exalted Scarlet Eye
The Wedjat Eye in Its Redness (of Anger)

The name--brim though it is with mirrorings and metonymy--doesn't jibe with our ideal of beauty, until we recognize that the solar red is anything but a red barn: it is a bright, clear, resplendent tide that flames like a ruby. Here is a precious "living stone," as well as "living Eye," a translucent diadem among stars (see 1 Peter 2:4-5). (The chapter to read on the connection between hypocephalus and rubies and sapphires is Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes, "The Jewel of Discernment," One Eternal Round, Chapter 10, 423-462.) The Egyptians encased Creation's poema into compact cryptonyms: enish and on-dosh--the beginning and the end--each radiate both life and redness, both beauty and the (red) borders (or border stones). After all, the epithet "red (or yellow) of hair" (lit. "that curled round red" = dshr.t shnj) clearly plays on the idea of the "red circuit" or "red eternal round" of the sun (the word for the solar circuit is shn.t). Redness, Beauty, Life, the Eye of Horus: all is one--and one eternal round. The exalted female sun, the Eye, as she navigates (D3j ~ the rudder = -go?) from the southern borders to the north, is both vibrantly and gloriously beautiful--both sun by day and flaming Arcturus by night.

The piercing jewel set in Hathor's crown shows the rubied sun itself, ensconced, as it is, between the rounded borders (or bows) of her two horns (cf. Joseph Smith--History 1:35). The correlation of Eye and Stone (and Crown), by the way, comes to perfection in the hypocephalus design: If the "hypocephalus itself," as Nibley says, is "a giant eye" (318), then it is also a fiery solar stone. The object, like a round sea of glass and fire, can therefore serve its purpose "to spark a flame under the head of a radiant spirit" (Book of the Dead Chapter 162; Doctrine and Covenants 88:11 = the two eyes, both the visible as also intellectual light). "And I, Abraham," as we are taught many times over in One Eternal Round, "had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had given unto me, in Ur of the Chaldees [And I, Abraham, had the hypocephalus: it is not given to us this Urim and Thummim, but we do have Abraham's hypocephalus and Abraham's matchless stars!]; And I saw the stars, that they were very great" (Abraham 3:1-2). . .

These Are The Governing Ones (Abraham 3:3)

As Hor-dosh-dawy (Horus [Jupiter] who sets the bounds of the Two Lands) makes his royal progress, or "annual revolutions," he circumscribes the extent of the cosmos and so secures it as his own demesne. Here is Horus the Cosmocrator. Another name for Jupiter, as Determiner (wpj, to judge, determine, divide), bespeaks the same thing: Horus, the Determiner of the Two Lands, that is, Horus, the Determiner of the Bounds of the Two Lands (Hr wpj t3.wj = *Hr wpj t3sh.w t3.wj). Which Horus does the name address? Horus, son of Osiris, as earthly king, does indeed determine the bounds of the two lands, which he then binds up into one state. Yet the soaring falcon, Horus the Eldest, alone surveys the bounds of the habitations of man from the beginning. . . A third name meets the first, with the letters t3, and sh playfully, mysteriously, transposed: Hr wpj sht3 (Horus, Opener of the Mystery). Wpj sht3 derives, by means of word play, from the hieroglyphs of expanses of water and tracts of land. The mystery may thus be explained as the mystery of knowing the universe in its entirety. The opener, or separator (wpj) of water and land--all creation--perforce becomes the discerner (wpj) of mysteries. (For the names of the planet Jupiter, see Heinrich Brugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionum Aegyptiacarum I, 67ff., published 1883.)

And is it too much to suggest a correspondence between the planetary Horus who sets the bounds and makes the rounds and the four sons of Geb or Shu or Horus that the Hathor cow faces in Facsimile 2, Figure 6? The four standing sons, as if four standing stones, represent both "this earth in its four quarters" and also, in a celestial mirroring, the four stars of the ever-turning Dipper. To these, Professor Mathieu also adds the four stars that delineate Orion (Pyramid Texts, 573, Hugh Nibley, The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, 113; An Approach to the Book of Abraham, 301; Bernard Mathieu, "Les enfants d'Horus"; Book of the Dead 148: the four Sons, four oars, and the seven Hathor cows = 15). And note how the duality of a sky with four corners in each hemisphere finds its dual reflection on earth with four corners in the north and also four in the south. The Sons of Geb thus mirror the Sons of Horus, and, indeed, the shape of reality--the ordering of the cosmos--cannot do without either set of tent pegs. (The opposition built into the hypocephalus design, as also the Janus-faced Kolob, accords with the same idea--see Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round.

The brightest of these four stars is ever the falcon, Qebehsenuef, which, as the Fourth, often also represents all the rest as a stand-alone, the very same presiding brother the Prophet calls Elkenah. Why does the Fourth preside? To complete the count of four seals the efficacy of the ceremony (as with the Hopi). Next to these four come the three cryptic figures (Lotus-Lion-Ram) that stand for the renewing revolutions of space and time, the universal crank that turns the starry heavens. "If the world can find out these numbers, so let it be": 4 + 3 = 7, the number of completion, the universe in its entirety, which consists of both the tally of the northern Dipper so well as southerly Orion. And, to be sure, the sons of Horus, in some cases, number seven (Matthias Rochholz, Schoepfung, Feindvernichtung, Regeneration,111-12). 

No wonder, then, given the positioning of the Hathor cow as facing earth's four boundary markers, its four t3Sw (dosh), followed by the three mysterious symbols of solar renewal, that, "in this case, in relation to this subject," the cow "is said by the Egyptians to be the sun."

These several planetary name-chains, to which we must add Re Horakhty (Re- Horus of the Horizon), all show the Horus Jupiter as a distant, transcendent supersun coursing the utmost regions and taking their measure. The Horus names are interchangeable; the governing power is one. Again, the question arises about which Horus we encounter here? Should we also see in the Egyptian Jupiter the ancient solar divinity, Horus Smsw, then all the planets swim into ken as emanations or reflections of the elder falcon, the central power navigating the paths of the sky. Do all these Horatian planets accordingly share (i.e., receive, exchange, borrow, and lend) their light in the fashion described by the Prophet in his Explanation of Facsimile 2, figure 5? In Egypt, "the glory of the sun is one," no matter the medium through which it shines. In Hor-dosh-tawy, Jupiter in the image of the sun (Eg. twt nj r'), we find a reflection of Enish-go-on-dosh as "one of the governing planets also, and [it] is said [note that disclaimer said] by the Egyptians to be the Sun."

Re himself is sometimes "said by the Egyptians to be" a star (sb3). And because any star or planet can also be called a Re (r'), or a Horus, any star apparently can also be "said by the Egyptians to be the Sun." A ringlike name rounds the solar universe: "He [Horus Behedty] is that Re who is the lord of every Re" (r' pw nb r'.w nb.w). 
The Egyptians knew the sun to be a star (Heinrich Brugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionum Aegyptiacarum I, 78-9, published 1883).

Beyond, we are assured, fan out "a plurality of skies," each with its governing power (Erik Hornung, Books of the Afterlife, 12). It remains to ascend, world upon mirrored world, "one planet above another, until thou come nigh to Kolob" (Abraham 3:9). Henry Thoreau had it right: "The sun is but a morning star."


The above comments form part of a longer essay, originally published on this Web site on 14 April 2010. Additional sentences and paragraphs have been added from time to time.

1) The transfer of stellar or solar light from one star or light source to another appears often in Egyptian art and religious writings (see Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 220-21, with illustration from tomb of Tutankhamun; 240, 267, 295-99, 334; David Klotz, Adoration of the Ram: Five Hymns to Amun-Re from Hibis Temple [New Haven, 2006], 176, 181-82: Shu-feathers, as on Fac. 2, fig. 2; hypocephalus as iris or pupil hiding Amun-Re, the spiritual light behind the physical manifestation; as for the baboons, they are "agents of justice and communication. In a world become wide-ranging and complex, the baboons maintain the links between above and below. They 'let ma'at ascend' and also disseminate it downward."
They are symbols of "representation and mediation," Jan Assmann, The Mind of Egypt, 187-88; Maat, 202ff.). 

2) Hathorian red is also the red of the bee. The bee, another -dosh, makes a subtle appearance on the hypocephalus (cf. Hugh Nibley, "The Deseret Connection," Abraham in Egypt).

Copyright by Val H. Sederholm, 2014