The Egyptian Resurrection
Fortunately, we have had some erudite and insightful individuals in the past who were far closer to the reality of the Egyptian religion than those who have merely scanned a few encyclopedia articles and then presented themselves as "experts."
Egyptologist Sir Dr. E.A. Wallis Budge worked for many years in the Egyptian Department at the British Museum and published a massive amount of information about ancient Egypt, its customs, religion and language, etc. I have been studying Budge's voluminous works - as well as the many works of more modern Egyptologists
, in both books and journals numbering well over 700 - and I have not found anything egregious about Budge's work in comparison to these others. In fact, Budge is clearly one of the more insightful and able expositors on the Egyptian religion in particular. There are, of course, differences between the scholarship of today and that of Budge's time, which was nevertheless within the past several decades. The transliterations of Egyptian words have changed, as have the dates for various kings/pharaohs. Naturally, it is perfectly valid to correct such "errors," but much of the criticism turns out to be unwarranted.
Indeed, the only thing that has changed with the Egyptian religion is that the perception today dismisses, denies and omits this massive amount of information coming from Budge, without good reason and with extreme and irrational prejudice. Why has this renowned and esteemed Egyptologist, whose Egyptian Book of the Dead
is one of the most popular books of all time, fallen out of favor?
Was it because Budge was so terribly wrong about so many things? Not according to my research, as I demonstrate thoroughly in Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
Could it be because he readily and easily saw many germane parallels between the Egyptian religion and Christianity? Indeed, Budge said that a comparison between the two faiths would fill a large volume - about that I can attest, as my book creeps up to the 600-page mark. Moreover, sincere Christian Budge was so impressed by the correlations between the Egyptian religion and Christianity that he declared the latter to be a fulfillment of the former!
We can readily see why the detractors would wish to bury quite honorable work with their calumny concerning his scholarship - this sort of disparagement is a typical tactic of the apologist cultus.
In any case, despite the libelous contentions regarding his scholarship, Budge had one of the better grasps of the Egyptian religion and spirituality, and he was able to explain and express it in an eloquent manner.
As one example, Budge succinctly and beautifully relates the spiritual gist of the Egyptian religion in his rendition of two ancient Egyptian hymns:
Thy essence is in heaven, thy body to earth. (VIth dynasty.)
Heaven hath thy soul, earth hath thy body. (Ptolemaic period.)
Here he is showing how long a period this doctrine spanned, from the 6th Dynasty all the way to the Ptolemaic era. Indeed, the Egyptian religion did not succumb to the violent overthrow by Christianity until the fourth century, with the murder of the last Egyptian priests. Murder, mayhem - these are the cause of Christianity's spread.
In any case, Budge also says:
...The never ending existence of the soul is asserted in a passage quoted above without reference to Osiris; but the frequent mention of the uniting of his bones, and of the gathering together of his members, and the doing away with all the corruption from his body, seems to show that the pious Egyptian connected these things with the resurrection of his own body in some form, and he argued that what had been done for him who was proclaimed to be giver and source of life must be necessary for mortal man.
Summing up the main reality of the Egyptian religion, Budge further remarks:
...we find that the doctrine of eternal life and of the resurrection of a glorified or transformed body, based upon the ancient story of the resurrection of Osiris after a cruel death and horrible mutilation, inflicted by the powers of evil, was the same in all periods, and that the legends of the most ancient times were accepted without material alteration or addition in the texts of the later dynasties.
The story of Osiris is nowhere found in a connected form in Egyptian literature, but everywhere, and in texts of all periods, the life, sufferings, death and resurrection of Osiris are accepted as facts universally admitted.
Budge, EBD, xlviii-xlix.
As we can abundantly see, the promise of the glorious resurrection based on the death and resurrection of the god was the main thrust of the Egyptian religion and was eventually available to all worshippers of the Egyptian faith, as reflected in numerous ancient texts. These worshippers have been estimated to number at least a half a billion over the millennia during which the Egyptian religion was followed.
To reiterate, the deceased were so closely united with Osiris - Lord of Resurrections and the Netherworld - that they were called "the Osiris," "the Osiris NN" or just "Osiris." That would mean there were hundreds of millions of Osirises resurrecting from the dead.
Budge further describes the Egyptian beliefs:
...the whole man consisted of a natural body, a spiritual body, a heart, a double, a soul, a shadow, an intangible ethereal casing or spirit, a form, and a name. All these were, however, bound together inseparably, and the welfare of any single one of them concerned the welfare of all. For the well-being of the spiritual parts it was necessary to preserve from decay the natural body; and certain passages in the pyramid texts seem to show that a belief in the resurrection of the natural body existed in the earliest dynasties.
Budge, EBD, lxix-lxx.
It seems that Budge is referring to Pyramid Texts (T 228) such as the following, as rendered by Dr. James P. Allen:
Flesh of this Teti, don't decay, don't rot, don't let your scent be bad!...
Your bones will not perish, your flesh will not pass away, Teti; your limbs will not be away from you, for you are one of the gods.
Allen, AEPT, 86-87.
"Teti" is the name of the subject of the Pyramid Text, the pharaoh/king. The deceased in these texts is "the Osiris."
More of the same appears at P 319b and P 528:
This Pepi has become sound with his flesh.
Pepi is sound, his flesh is sound; Pepi is sound, his clothing is sound. He has gone up to the sky...
Allen, AEPT, 125, 188.
We also find the following at P 47:
Ho, Pepi! Stand up!...
Ho, Pepi! Live...
Allen, AEPT, 109.
Pepi is also a deceased king, becoming the Osiris, who is to stand up and live! It is logical for someone to try to raise a dead person by saying, "Stand up!", and this phrase is used repeatedly throughout the funerary/mortuary texts, which are specifically designed for this resurrection
And then there's this little gem at Nt 249:
ADDRESS TO THE RESURRECTED SPIRIT
Ho, Neith! Raise yourself on your metal bones and your golden limbs. This body of yours belongs to a god; it cannot moulder, it cannot end, it cannot decay....
Your flesh has been born to life, and you shall live more than the stars.
Allen, AEPT, 327.
Note the word "RESURRECTED" in the original Egyptian title of this spell.
It is unquestionable that long before the common era ancient man saw death as something to overcome and conquer, allowing him to rise again or resurrect - that belief, in fact, has been at the basis of much religious and spiritual conceptualization. In fact, such a belief constitutes the basis for spirituality - and the Egyptian religion was highly spiritual. Moreover, it would appear that human beings early on hoped to be resurrected in their physical or "natural" bodies, as is a natural desire - even a small child will cry over a lost pet and wish that it would come back to life. These earliest texts indicate this desire, as well as the graduation to the inescapable fact that the flesh will not really be restored; hence, a glorified body can be fantasized instead.
This glorified body is little different from that which is proposed in the later Christianity, which many if not most Christians are banking on with their beliefs:
There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
1 Corinthians 15:40
It is obvious that Christianity cannot realistically promise the resurrection of the physical body, as observers undoubtedly would have noticed that their sincerely believing friends and family members were nevertheless rotting in the ground, despite all the empty promises - an observation that undoubtedly led the early Egyptians likewise to promise an esoteric, glorified body as well.
And the point is still made that Christianity is a mythical rehash largely based on the Egyptian religion.