Book of Thoth

The magical writings of the Egyptian god of Knowledge, Wisdom, and Magic


book-of-thoth-sm.jpgIt is very difficult to provide an overview of this composition. First, the papyri often prevents connected translation, especially in the beginning of the text. Second, the number of subject treated is quite large. Nevertheless, there are certainly basic themes to which the author repeatedly returns.

The Book of Thoth is not a narrative, but a dialogue between the mr-rh “The-one-who-loves-knowledge” or “The-one-who-wishes-to-learn” and a deity, generally Hsr.t, “He-of-Heseret,” or Hs-rh “He-who-praises-knowledge.” We identify this god with Thoth. While there may be an overall “shape” to the composition, it conveys the loose character of an encyclopedia.

One basic aim of the work seems to be to present different types of useful scribal/thaumatergical/theological/scholarly knowledge to the aspiring disciple. As such, the author often moves from point to point in a fashion difficult for us today to discern.

As may be expected in a composition of this type, it is not always clear just where a given passage is situated in time and space. One has the impression that much of the action is set in the House of Life. However, there is little doubt that many elements could be imbued with symbolic force; the author may conceive this institution as a reflection of the divine world. Similarly, the author of the Book of Thoth may sometimes employ metaphorical language.

The process of attaining mastery of scribal knowledge, for example, may mirror one’s striving to attain rebirth and eternal life.


The Book of Thoth was found and first read by BJ.

Book of Thoth

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