View Poll Results: Which Egyptian God(s) is/are closest conceptually to the supreme Abrahamic one?

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  • NTR/Neter

    1 33.33%
  • Horus

    0 0%
  • Hathor

    0 0%
  • Neith

    0 0%
  • Nut

    1 33.33%
  • Nun / Nu

    0 0%
  • Amon / Amen

    0 0%
  • Atum

    0 0%
  • Ra

    0 0%
  • Aten

    2 66.67%
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Thread: What God in each major ancient civilization is closest to the one supreme God?

  1. #1
    tWebber rakovsky's Avatar
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    Question What God in each major ancient civilization is closest to the one supreme God?


    The four major oldest civilizations



    Topic Questions for each civilization


    What was their civilization like in a brief summary?

    Did they have technology that would be considered advanced by our current standards?

    Did they or a major portion of them have a version of monotheism?

    Which was their God who was most like the supreme Abrahamic one, and what was that God like?

    What is the meaning or etymology for NTR, DINGIR, Brahman, Di/Tien, or their other main concept of God?

    If they had more than one such God, which was the earliest?

    What were their rituals for worshiping this deity?

  2. #2
    tWebber rakovsky's Avatar
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    Smile

    For the Poll:

    NTR / Neter



    Above is the NTR spelled in symbolic hieroglyphics, using what may be a flag or axe.

    NTR, according to some Egyptologists like EA Budge, NTR (the hieroglyphic for Neter) was sometimes used by itself in texts without identification with any specific god of the Egyptian Pantheon. Thus they propose that Egyptians not only identified "gods", but also had a concept of simply God Himself.

    There are several other evidences for the theory that many Egyptians were familiar with the concept of God Himself. In the Bible several times Egyptian pharaohs acknowledge "God", the indication being that they were aware of the true God. One instance was when a good pharaoh favored Joseph, in Genesis 41:
    "And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art".


    When Christianity came to Egypt in the first few centuries AD, the name for "God" in the Egyptian Christians' Bibles was the 1st century Egyptian word for NTR/Neter, which by that time had dropped the R and become Noute in 1st century Egyptian speech.

    Horus




    Horus is one of the oldest Egyptian gods. There are images of him that go back to the prehistoric period. He is considered carrying the sun across the sky.

    Hathor



    Hathor is one of the earliest Egyptian goddesses, from the prehistoric times.

    The cult of Hathor predates the historic period, and the roots of devotion to her are therefore difficult to trace, though it may be a development of predynastic cults which venerated fertility, and nature in general, represented by cows.[6]

    Hathor is commonly depicted as a cow goddess with horns in which is set a sun disk with Uraeus. Twin feathers are also sometimes shown in later periods as well as a menat necklace.[6] Hathor may be the cow goddess who is depicted from an early date on the Narmer Palette and on a stone urn dating from the 1st dynasty that suggests a role as sky-goddess and a relationship to Horus who, as a sun god, is "housed" in her.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hathor

    Neith



    Neith was also a goddess who may go back to the prehistoric time. One interesting thing for me is that I think her name Neith is spelled in phonetic hieroglyphics the same way that "God" would be without the R. She was a creator goddess too, with her weaving being associated with Creation, but I am not sure at what point that association with her and creation began.

    Nut



    Nut is the Goddess of the sky / heavens. She holds up the heavens with her body. Her name also especially reminds me of the Egyptian name NTR. We see in Sumerian, proto-Indo-European, Turkic, and Chinese religions that the supreme deity is closely related to the sky.

    Nun



    Nun is the god of the watery chaos out of which Creation was made. He is often portrayed as an old man.

    Amon / Amen / Amun




    This god's name means the "unknown" or "hidden" one. He is found in the pyramid texts from 2500 BC. He was the central god of the Egyptians for centuries. At some point the Egyptians combined him with Ra to become Amon-Ra, or even considered him to be a combination of all gods. There was a kind of monotheism at some period in Egypt's history saying that all the gods were faces or manifestations of the one true God.

    One Protestant minister proposed that ultimately Amon, the "unknown" god of the Egyptians, referred to the true God. He noted that Paul went to Athens and found a plaque to the "unknown" god and identified this God with the Christian one, because he had hitherto been unknown to the Greeks. It's also a fact that Amon's worship extended across the Mediterranean to the Greco-Roman world, even though he was an Egyptian god.

    The really tough part though about equating Amon with the Abrahamic God is that at one point in the Old Testament God says that he will harm Amon and the Thebean Egyptians. Thebes was the capitol of worship for Amon. This makes it strongly appear that Amon is a different God from the Israelites' God.

    Atum



    Atum was another major Egyptian god.
    Atum's name is thought to be derived from the word tem which means to complete or finish. Thus he has been interpreted as being the 'complete one' and also the finisher of the world, which he returns to watery chaos at the end of the creative cycle. As creator he was seen as the underlying substance of the world, the deities and all things being made of his flesh or alternatively being his ka.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atum

    Ra / Re



    The god Ra was at one period the supreme deity of the Egyptians. His name referred to the rays of the sun.

    Aten



    Aten refers to the sun disk. In the photo above, Akhenaten, the pharaoh, is worshiping Aten. A big question for me on this topic is whether Akhenaten was worshiping the physical sun disk itself, or if he conceived of a God, "Aten", distinct somehow from the physical material disk.

    Akhenaten's rule is the period about which Egyptologists most strongly consider there to be monotheism in Egypt, Aten being their supreme god. Many influential Egyptians though opposed Akhenaten's rule and that of worshiping the Aten as the only god, and Egyptian society returned to worshiping Amon after his rule ended.
    Last edited by rakovsky; 05-26-2016 at 02:57 AM.

  3. #3
    tWebber rakovsky's Avatar
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    Cool Egypt

    EGYPT

    Their civilization arose in Egypt in 5000 BC or earlier going back to prehistoric times. Their writing is dated to have begun around 3500 BC, although there are drawings from before then. Their religion lasted at least to their Christianization in about 350 AD. It was based very much around the Nile. It was connected more broadly to other parts of Africa like Sudan and Chad and North Africa.





    Their most obviously mysterious advanced technology is the pyramids of Giza, and its still debated what they were used for and how they were made.


    Thermal imaging of the pyramid

    Their most famous monotheist was the pharaoh Akhenaten who focused on worshiping the aten or sun disc. However, there are arguments that they ALSO were monotheist in worshiping one god like the Yoruban tribes do. The Yorubans are connected to Egypt's culture and religion, even though they are far away in Nigeria. The Egyptians in this theory believed that the gods were only aspects or emanations or personalities of the one true God, and that when NTR or Neter is referred to, the name of God, it means the one true God. There was also a syncretization of Gods, teaching that Amon-Ra was really a combination of all gods, like the two gods Amon and Ra. Amon and Ra were two of the main gods in two different periods and at one point they got combined into Amon-Ra.


    Sky/Heavens Goddess Nut

    It's hard to argue who was the God most like the Abrahamic one. There are several candidates. The first is just NTR/Neter, meaning "God", as explained above. In this theory, the true God is "God", as distinct from focusing on just one aspect. Another theory would be to look at the oldest God. Hathor, Horus, and Neith are three of the oldest known gods. Horus and Hathor go back to the first period of literacy that we have, in 4500-3000 BC. A third strategy would be to look at Gods whose names sound like NTR. That brings to mind Nun/Nu, Nut, and Neith. These are gods of the primordial mass, the sky, and a creator being, respectively. Ra was the central god at one point, the sun god, and it means the noon sun. It is interesting how it relates to the English "ray". Atum is another leading god, whose name means the completer, and he is also supposedly without a parent and was a creator. These gods were emphasized at different local places and times in Egyptian history.

    Amon is another central god and is mentioned in the pyramid texts from 2500 BC, so he is ancient. Amon means the hidden one, and so there has been a discussion by a Christian theologian that he is like the "unknown one" mentioned in the book of Acts. So I am inclined to think that this is one of the best answers, considering that one can say that in a sense God is unknowable or unknown, although it's true that God makes himself known in Judaism/Christianity with revelation and/or some kind of incarnation (eg. meeting Moses in person). A problem with equating Amon with Yahweh though is that once in the Old Testament God fights the Thebeans and Amon, suggesting they aren't the same gods. The counterargument could be that this was just the Hebrews' understanding of Amon as if he were a separate God.


    N _ T _ R
    The Phonetics of NTR in hieroglyphics

    Neter/NTR is very mysterious in its etymology and meaning. It's something that Egyptologists debate. They say that this word is used at least of gods, pharaohs (and remember, honored pharaohs got divinized in ancient Egypt), and of the departed. Some propose that it means "nature" or refers to elements or principles. But others propose that it just mean "god". When the Egyptians converted to Christianity in the 1st to 4th centuries AD, NTR was the word used to translate "God" in the Egyptian Bibles. However, millenia later it is not established by Egyptologists collectively what else it might mean.

    The symbol for NTR is a flag, an axe, or maybe even something else. It's even debated whether it is a flag or not, or an axe or not. A good reason to think it was a flag is not only to judge it by its looks, but to note that flags were used in Egyptian religion in connection with deities, and that flags or "jhandis" are used in ancient Indian, Hindu religion to denote a god's presence. Yet what is the meaning of using a flag? This is also curious. Another symbol of NTR is also the image of a god sitting down with a pharaonic beard like in the picture above.


    The Karnak Temple dedicated to Amon in Thebes.

    The Egyptians made temples for their gods with statues. They practiced idolatry, in that they believed that their god was actually in the idol itself. They fed the idol and treated it like a being. This is what the pharaoh did at the Karnak temple. Human sacrifice, killing servants on the pharaoh's death who would accompany the pharaoh, existed in the 1st dynasty in 3100 BC to 2900 BC, but became extinct. They had annual large public festivals at their temples, like the Karnak one called the Opet Festival. There are also texts with prayers to the gods, praising them, asking for help, etc. Psalm 104 in the Bible is close enough to one of the hymns to Akhenaten's god the Aten that some scholars think that one of them was taken from the other. For Akhenaten, being in the sun was important to his worship of the sun disc, hence his temples were open-air.

    This is a bit off topic, but there is a video game that I like called Age of Mythology that includes Egyptian soldiers, buildings, and deities.



    One of the major questions that this review leaves unanswered is:
    What are the meanings and etymology , if any, of NTR/Neter beyond simply "god"?

  4. #4
    tWebber rakovsky's Avatar
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    Sumer

    Sumer

    Sumer's civilization began about 3500 BC with their writing and lasted until about 1940 BC. It was located in the lower region of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in Mesopotamia. It has not been established what their ethnicity or language group was, although it is commonly not considered a semitic language. It's also commonly thought that they replaced a previous community there, the Ubaidians.


    Euphrates and Tigris rivers


    It is hard to pin down an explicit instance of Sumerian technology more advanced than what we have now. The strongest evidence for such theories seem to me to be "coincidences" between Sumerian art and culture and what we find in far away cultures' artifacts that appear to reflect such technology. One example of coincidences are the elongated skulls found in pre-Sumerian Ubaidian statues that recall elongated skulls found in Peru or Egypt. There are major Andes city sites dated from 3000-2000 BC. There is a claim of a Magna Fuente bowl from Bolivia with Sumerian writing, but it's commonly considered a hoax. I've read about connections in symbolism between statues, "h" symbols, or baskets found at Easter Island, Sumer, Gobekli Tepe, and the Americas, particularly Puma Punku.

    However, it feels hard to draw strong conclusions of advanced technology from these finds. I am not aware of any claims for advanced technology in Sumer or its successor Babylonia that would approach what we see in the Giza pyramids or Puma Punku. There is an idea among some today that the Annunaki were ETs. One interesting observation is that there appear to be reptoid sculptures of gods from the Ubaidan period, if not later. This sculpture below may refer to the goddess Nammu.

    But it seems rather more likely to me that the Annunaki were simply Sumerian theological legends and myths. In other words, the Annunaki in reality are the mythological gods, who are called Annunaki based on their lineage from An.

    As for Sumer's potential monotheism, one theory proposed by A. Custance said that Sumerians and other ancient people were originally monotheists but then proposed other deities that they added to their pantheon. This theory says that in the earliest archeological finds, the Sumerians had very few gods, and that later finds reflect a gradual growth in the number of Gods,into the hundreds. This theory follows that trajectory back, proposing that originally they had less than a few gods, namely one only.


    The Dingir sign

    The god that resembles the one true God the most would be An / Anu, the god of the heavens. His sign and written name in cuneiform is the Dingir, above. This sign is used as an abbreviation used to denote that one of the beings in their literature was a God. (Kind of like writing "St." before someone's name in English to show they are a saint.) This sign dingir also is used as a word to mean the heavens. Based on the symbol, we can see that there is an association with the shining stars.


    Perhaps a sculpture of An.

    The Sumerians taught that An was birthed from the goddess Nammu, the primordial seas. I am not sure whether the Sumerians always taught this or whether they at an earlier point taught that An was uncreated and always existed. Thus, in their theology, An was the first god, as shown by the fact that his own name is written exactly as the sign Dingir, while others just use Dingir as a sign denoting they are gods. Nammu and An gave birth to Enlil ("El" in the Akkadian language) and Enki (in Akkadian "Ea"). In other legends, the Annunaki, including Enlil and Enki, were the children of An and his consort Ki.

    One interesting thing is that God's name in the Bible, Elohim, is the plural of El, the Akkadian name for Enlil, and etymologically in Hebrew means "the gods". Also, there is a claim by some that Yah, God's name several times in the Bible (eg. Jeremiah), was a Semitic deity corresponding to the Akkadian Ea, and hence to the Sumerian Enki. Going by the Biblical literature alone however, such associations are not made clearly, and there is simply one God who is called both Yah and Elohim.


    Anu was worshiped in temples in Sumer, like on this Ziggarat in Uruk. Like the Egyptians, they made idols of their deities, including An. They put human food, including vegetables and meat, in the mouth of their statue of An in their temple and had a priest for their rituals. The Sumerians developed a system of math and astronomy that relied on the number 60, a number with which they associated An. This is where the current day 60 minute hour comes from.

    By the way, there is a user custom made campaign for Age of Empires called "A Short History of Lost Sumeria" that involves Sumerian mythology.



    A question remaining from this review is:
    What is the etymology of "Dingir"?

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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    I voted for Aten, but Aten and Ra represent monotheist views of God.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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    tWebber rakovsky's Avatar
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    Names and meanings for God:

    Egypt
    NTR / Neter / Netjer - It means a god or else a deceased person or pharaoh. They believed that the pharaoh had a special connection to god and that the departed became gods. Further etymology of the word is uncertain - Nature (eg. Latin Natura)? Heaven (eg. Coptic word for god Noute - Heavens goddess Nut)?


    The symbol used to write it is a flag or an axe. Scholars have different opinions on which one the symbol means.


    Another sign for NTR is a picture of a sitting god, like on the far right:



    A writer who discusses this concept of God as NTR, the concept of God itself as its own being, see EA Budge. He is a famous Egyptologist wrote in the 1920's, which was a long time ago, but his research was vast. For Budge and some other Egyptologists, NTR was not just a word meaning a god, but a name for a specific god, namely God Himself, like when people today begin their prayers addressed to "God" in English.

    Sumer
    Dingir - means god or heaven or sky. It may come from an idea of something bright shining, or a star.
    It's sign is an eight lined asterisk (instead of a six lined one) with four triangles at the ends.




    Indus Valley / India
    Deva = God / Deus in Latin
    Bhagavan = Sanskrit title for God - the Blessed one / the Benefited / Adored one. (Like "Bog" = god in Russian and slavic languages)
    Ishvara = another Sanskrit title, meaning "the Lord"

    As I understand it, in Hinduism, "deva" is not a general name for God Himself in the way that Budge proposed that NTR was in Egypt.
    While the prayers to God in Egypt according to Budge could be addressed to "God", or in Egyptian "NTR", such is not the case in Hinduism, where it only refers to specific gods like Shiva or Vishnu or Ganesh.

    Also in Hinduism, I am not aware of a symbol for Bhagawan other than that of whatever each Hindu sect considers its main god to be, eg. Vishnu or Trimurti.

    Indus Valley script has not yet been deciphered and it has some vague similarity to Sumerian script. Sanskrit came later and is the source of the Vedas, written about 1500 BC. Indus Valley writing may, in my mind, have a symbol for god like Sumerian writing does.

    An attempt to decipher some basic Indus Valley letters by Jeyakumar Ramasami using some information from Sanskrit:
    Indus Script Based on Sanskrit Language
    http://www.sci-news.com/otherscience...age-01777.html

    Some scholars, such as G.R. Hunter,[8] S. R. Rao, John Newberry,[9] Krishna Rao,[10] Subhash Kak[11] have argued that the Brāhmī script has some continuity with the Indus system. While others such as Iravatham Mahadevan, Kamil Zvelebil, Asko Parpola found relation with the Dravidian language.[12][13] F. Raymond Allchin have somewhat cautiously supported the possibility,[14][15] and even many supporters of the consensus theory that Brāhmī probably derives from Aramaic influence do not entirely rule out the possibility of some Indus script influence, pending the discovery of new evidence that might illuminate the murky early history of Brāhmī.
    ...
    "Sanskritic" hypothesis


    Indus people endless knot symbol/Rangoli and Inscription possibly proto Dravidian or proto Sanskrit
    Indian archaeologist Shikaripura Ranganatha Rao claimed to have deciphered the Indus script. Postulating uniformity of the script over the full extent of Indus-era civilization, he compared it to the Phoenician Alphabet, and assigned sound values based on this comparison. His decipherment results in an "Sanskritic" reading, including the numerals aeka, tra, chatus, panta, happta/sapta, dasa, dvadasa, sata (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 12, 100).[46] He notes a number of striking similarities in shape and form between the late Harappan characters and the Phoenician letters, arguing than the Phoenician script evolved from the Harappan script, challenging the classical theory that the first alphabet was Proto-Sinaitic.[47]

    John E. Mitchiner, has dismissed some of these attempts at decipherment. Mitchiner mentions that "a more soundly-based but still greatly subjective and unconvincing attempt to discern an Indo-European basis in the script has been that of Rao".[48]

    Support for a continuity between Indus and Brahmi has been sought in graphic similarities between Brahmi and the late Harappan script, where the ten most common ligatures correspond with the form of one of the ten most common glyphs in Brahmi.[49] There is also corresponding evidence of continuity in the use of numerals[50][51] Further support for this continuity comes from statistical analysis of the relationship carried out by Das.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indus_script

    China

    Shang Di 上帝 = Supreme/Highest Lord/Deity
    上 = Shang = Supreme or Highest or First. The horizontal line in the middle is like a raised line, meaning that something is high
    帝 = Deity or Lord or Emperor . In the Chinese system, an emperor was a "son of heaven", with a special connection to God or a manifestation of God. Scholars debate whether this is a picture of a person or of burning logs like in a sacrifice.

    Huang Tian 皇天 = "Ruler of Heaven" or "Royal/August/Imperial Heaven/God"
    皇= Huang = royal, imperial, august, emperor, sovereign, ruler, superior
    天 = Tian or Tien = Heaven or God. Scholars commonly propose that God was the original meaning because the picture is of a person. There are even early pictures of Tien that look even more like a person.


    Another image of Tian, one from Bronze age ritual bronze objects. SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tian

    Inscription saying "Huang Tian Shang Di" in the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, meaning "Sovereign of Heaven, Supreme Deity" or "Supreme Lord of the Great Heaven":


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