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Jul 20, 1997 07:55 PM
by Jerry Schueler

>I don't think that enough emphasis has been placed (by Egyptologists) on
>the symbolism of the Egyptian glyphs.  You may or may not know that a good
>part of the words have been translated wholly on a word's final symbol or
>'determinative'.  Because of this, there are a host of words (with
>different symbles) that are all said to have the same meaning.

Ahhhemm!  It so happens that I did my own translation of the Book of
the Dead called Coming Into The Light, which the publisher just
retitled Egyptian Magick. As such, I'm afraid that I have an opinion or
two on Egyptologists.

Go into any bookstore and see how many translations of the Gita
you can find. Then look at the Tao te Ching. There are hundreds.
Then look at the Book of the Dead. There are two, and Budge's
is no longer considered workable even by Egyptologists. Why?
Because of hierarchies. When the chief muckty-muk does a
translation, then nobody else had better one-up him. And no
one has. I'm not an Egyptologist, so my translations don't
count in acedemia.

Anyway, hieroglyphics can be translated in a wide variety of
ways. There is no punctuation, for example. Ideographs can
vary with the context, etc.  The owl is the letter m, and can actually
mean any preposition at all, including opposites.  So, we can
translate that someone is coming in or going out depending
on our preference, and on the overall context, etc. Translating
is a lot of fun, but you would never know it based on the few
translations available.

Jerry S.
Member, TI

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