By now you should have read Genesis chapter 1 for the course. We will be discussing throughout the semester some of the literature from other places in the Ancient Near East. An Ancient Near Eastern text that bears some similarities to Genesis 1 is the Egyptian “Hymn to Ptah.” Read the hymn below and in the comments section discuss any similarities or differences that you see between the two texts:
The ka-souls of all the living were created in the image of Ptah.
All formed in his heart and by his tongue.
Horus was created from the thoughts of Ptah’s heart.
Thoth was formed by the words of Ptah’s tongue.
Ptah’s heart guides the Ennead,
Ptah’s tongue directs human
Ptah creates the Ennead with only teeth and lips,
Atum must create with hands and semen.
Atum had to masturbate to bring forth the Ennead.
Ptah had only to speak, and the Ennead came forth.
Ptah called the names of Shu and Tefnut,
The wind and the rain gave birth to the Ennead.
Sight, hearing, and smell all report to the heart,
The heart is the source of all knowledge.
The tongue speaks only the words of Ptah…
Ptah’s heart grants the gift of life,
Ptah’s tongue organizes life’s abundance.
Ptah’s heart grants life to the steady heart,
Ptah’s tongue orders death for fools.
* Excerpt taken from Old Testament Parallels by Victor Matthews and Don Benjamin (page 5)