Egyptian Mythological Manuals
Jørgensen, Jens Kristoffer Blach
This thesis consists of an analysis of two ancient Egyptian mythological manuals: the
mythological handbook of Tebtunis and the mythological Delta handbook. The analysis focuses on
the different ways in which the manuals structure and interpret mythology.
The first chapter is a critical look at Egyptological theories of Egyptian mythology, with
particular focus on aetiological myths and etymology. Based on structuralist theories, two
approaches to the mythological material in the manuals that were also used by the Egyptians themselves:
the paradigmatic and the syntagmatic.
It is shown that the manuals make use of mythological model narratives or key myths
which build on the myths of the Nigude circle of Heliopolis to structure the great
of local mythical traditions. This creates a redundant structure in which the
individual district’s mythology becomes an echo or actualization of basic mythic patterns.
The Delta handbook demonstrates the basic heuristic function of the system by
including an additional deity in the nigude circle in the form of the female Horus. This
goddess is hardly attested in anything other than the priestly manuals, but was included for
to better interpret and connect the myths of the Egyptian gods.
Finally, I compare the techniques and structures of the mythological manuals with
those found in other priestly manuals in archives, temple libraries and temple walls.
I conclude that they share similar and compatible approaches that can also be applied to
Egyptian ritual texts and mythic narratives.