Smut for Mut: Ancient Egyptian “Cult Fiction”

Bible and archaeology news

Researchers recently translated a papyrus featuring a fictionalized hedonistic tale of ancient Egyptian ritual. The 1,900 year-old Demotic text tells stories of drinking, singing, feasting and ritual sex for the goddess Mut, according to a recent article in LiveScience.* Egyptian cult was not characterized by sexual rituals, and the inclusion of a noun reserved for structuring Egyptian fiction suggests that this is merely a story rather than a cultic text. Researchers Richard Jasnow and Mark Smith believe that an Egyptian priest may have written the papyrus to create a hypothetical and fictional scenario in order to discuss an undoubtedly controversial issue. The LiveScience report includes the translations “drink truly. Eat truly. Sing,” “don clothing, anoint (yourself), adorn the eyes, and enjoy sexual bliss” and accounts that Mut will not let you “be distant from drunkenness on any day. She will not allow you to be lacking in any (manner).” The fictional story presented in the papyrus, which is housed in Florence, runs counter to the Greek historian Herodotus’s belief that the Egyptians were the first to promote a separation of church and sex.
 


 
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* Read “’Cult Fiction’ Traced to Ancient Egypt Priest” by Owen Jarus
in LiveScience
. Based on an article by Richard Jasnow and Mark Smith in Enchoria.

This papyrus includes fictional stories of hedonistic Egyptian cult for the goddess Mut

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