Ra Egyptian God
A diagram shown the gist of recension theory (religion morph), originated by Edouard Naville (1886) and Wallis Budge (1899), and or redaction theory (religion syncretism), originated by Gary Greenberg (2000), related to the evolution or change of the contiguous core religion belief model, through empires: Egyptian, Sumerian, Hebrew, Greek, Roman, English, and American, over the last 5,000+ years, all generally rooted in the ancient pre-dynastic sun god Ra, and derivatives or morphs derived therefrom.
In religio-mythology, recension theory is the presumption, based on comparisons of religious texts, concordant with certain periods of peaked imperial power, that during each major dynasty (Egyptian) or period (Hebrew, Greek, Roman, English), the corpus of religious theory underwent a new "revision", "recension" (Budge, 1899), "rescript" (Kuhn, 1944), "adjustment" (Ghurye, 1965), or "redaction" (Greenberg, 2000), generally involving syncretisms of various competing theologies, resulting in a grand edit, therein making a new variant of state religion.

In 1842, Prussian Egyptologist Richard Lepsius, a follower of French hieroglyphics decoder Jean Champollion (1790-1832), published the first “standard edition” attempt at an English rendering of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, one from the papyrus of a Ptolemaic official named Luwefankh. Lepsius divided this Book of the Dead of Luwefankh into 165 chapters, assigning the numbers on the basis of the dividing lines and rubrics of that document. Additional chapters were added by Willem Pleyte, Edouard Naville, Wallis Budge, T.G. Allen, and others, raising the total number, as of 2008, to 192 chapters. [2]

In 1886, Swiss Egyptologist Edouard Naville introduced "recension theory", namely the assertion that there were both a “Theban recension” (18th-19th dynasties | 1550-1200BC), i.e. those written before the Late Period, of the Book of the Dead, and a “Saite recension” (26th dynasty | 600BC), after which the Dead Book became standardized into a specific order and “fossilized”, as some have referred to it, in terms of content. [3]

In 1904, English Egyptologist Wallis Budge, building on Naville recension theory (two recension theory), added that there was a “Heliopolitan recension” (1st-6th dynasty | 3000-2200BC) (see: Heliopolis creation myth), prior to the Theban recension (three recension theory). [2] Budge states that details of the Heliopolitan recension are found in the Pyramid Texts of Unas, last king of 5th dynasty (2345BC), Teta, and the other kings of that era, and states that this recension dates to an anterior period. (Ѻ)

In c.1915, George Gurdjieff, according to Simson Najovits (2009), had asserted the view that Christianity, or aspects of it, and the “form of worship in the Christian Church”, owed something to what Gurdjieff called Egyptian “schools of repetition”. [7] This "schools of repetition" term may or may not be related to redaction/recension theory?

In 2000, Gary Greenberg, using his own formulation, states that five main recensions or "redactions" occurred (five redaction model); loosely occurring in the following order: Heliopolis recension (3500BC), Memphis recension (3100-2100BC), Hermopolis recension, Theban recension (2040BC), and lastly an Canaanite recension or redaction (587BC), the latter of which, according to Greenberg, being a mix of the Heliopolis recension (J source), Theban recension (P source), and the Babylonian recension (Babylonian creation myth). [4] The following diagram (Ѻ) shows the five main recension (or redaction) locations, according to the Greenberg five redaction model, as taught to children during the 2015 Zerotheism for Kids class:
Ancient Egypt 13
In 2008, John Romer, using the Budge model, dated the three main recension periods as follows: [5]

“Each of these three scholarly compilations — which Budge calls ‘recensions’ — are based on groups of texts that were created one after the other during the three phases of ancient Egyptian history, the three 'kingdoms', when the state was centralized and monuments of stone were made. Thus, the so-called ‘Pyramid Texts’ that contain the oldest known religious literature are dated to the Old Kingdom, which began about 3000 BC and lasted for eight centuries. (More precisely the first known examples of the Pyramid Texts, and a near-perfectly preserved corpus in their own right, were engraved c. 2257-2237 BC on the interior chambers and corridors of the Pyramid of Unas.)

The second compilation, dubbed the ‘Coffin Texts’, is dated to the so-called Middle Kingdom, which began about 2150 BC and lasted for 400 years.

The third compilation, the Book of the Dead, is dated to the five-century-long New Kingdom, which began about 1550 BC, though a few chapters are known that are half a century older. Many other religious texts, some of them elaborate and integrated compositions, also appear to have been composed during that period of time. Extensive collections of chapters that appear in the Book of the Dead also continued to be used in burials throughout the Late Period (from around 700 BC) and down into Ptolemaic and Roman times, just as did some of the chapters — sometimes known as 'spells' — from the Pyramid Texts and the Coffin Texts until, eventually, the pagan faith was banned by order of the Christian Roman emperors.”


Heliopolis 2
The city of Heliopolis, aka "city of the sun", located in nome #13 of Lower Egypt, the location of the Heliopolis recension (aka Heliopolis creation myth), originating in 3500 to 3150BC, the first and most dominate Egyptian religio-mythology belief system.
1. Heliopolitan recension | Pre-dynasty-6th dynasty | 3500-3150BC
In 1899, Wallis Budge, in his Egyptian Religion (pg. 100), Budge commented on the Heliopolis recension, centered around Ra the sun god, as follows:

Ra was probably the oldest of the gods worshiped in Egypt, and his name belongs to such a remote period that its meaning is unknown.”

In 1904, Budge, in his The Gods of the Egyptians, contradicts this by stating, in two places, that Horus is the oldest of the gods.

In 1915, Scottish mythologist Lewis Spence, in summary of the Budge three recension model, described the Heliopolis recension as follows: [3]

“There were three recensions or versions of the Book of the Dead—the Heliopolitan, the Theban, and the Saite. The Heliopolitan recension was edited by the priests of the College of Anu, or On, known to the Greeks as Heliopolis, and was based upon texts not now recoverable. The Pyramids of Unas, Teta, and Pepi contain the original texts of this recension, which represent the theological system introduced by the priests of Ra. The essentials of the primitive Egyptian religion are, however, retained, the only modification in them being the introduction of the solar doctrine of Ra. In later times the priesthood of Ra were forced to acknowledge the supremacy of Osiris, and this theological defeat is visible in the more modern texts. Between the Sixth and Eleventh Dynasties the priests of On edited a number of fresh chapters from time to time.”

In 1990, Lewis Spence stated that the Heliopolis priests, in their recension, edited a number of fresh chapters during the 6th and 11th dynasties (2345-1991BC).

In 2000, Gary Greenberg implicitly dated the Heliopolis recension, seemingly, to pre-dynastic times (3500 to 3150BC) [5]

In 2002, Johann Fletcher, in her The Egyptian Book of Living and Dying, ordered the three main Egyptian creation myths as: Heliopolis, Hermopolis, and Memphis, as follows: [13]

Egypt’s all-embracing framework of myths encompassed at least three accounts of creation. They were all interconnected, but each centered on a particular creator deity or group of deities: the nine gods of Heliopolis, the eight gods of Hermopolis and Ptah, and the god of Memphis, Egypt’s traditional capital. All were credited with creating the universe and their priests all claimed that their temple stood on the very site where creation had begun.”

(add discussion)

Hermopolis 4
The city of Hermopolis, located in nome #15 of Upper Egypt, the cited of the second main religious recension of Egyptian theology.
2. Hermopolis recension | 3000-2500BC
See main: Hermopolis theology (Hermopolis recension)
In 1893, Gaston Maspero asserted his view that the god company of Hermopolis was constructed after the model of the god company of Heliopolis. [12]

In 1904, Budge, in his The Gods of the Egyptians, in two places (pgs. #, 404), argued, in opposition to Maspero, amid commentary of Heinrich Brugsch, that the Hermopolis god company was older than the Heliopolis god company.

In 2003, Canadian-born French Egyptologist Simson Najovits stated that there were ten main Egyptian creation myths, each associated with a different city, Heliopolis being the oldest, ranked, via reasoned argument, the Hermopolis recension as the second oldest cosmogony: [6]

“Four different versions of the creation of the world from the benben were developed in Hermopolis: a great egg was laid on the benben by a cosmic goose (containing Re as sun and light who then created the world); an ibis (Thoth) laid the cosmic egg; a lotus stemming from the waters of the Sea of Two Knives in Hermopolis opened and gave birth to the solar child Re; a scarab, the rising sun and the eye of Re, was inside the lotus and was transformed into a crying boy whose tears became mankind.”

The following are some cosmic egg renditions; the middle depiction is a latter Theban recension (below) addition:
Cosmic egg sun (models)
This seems to be the root of the later Hinduism recension of creation, such as shown above right (Ѻ), where the snake Ananta-Shesha (Egyptian: Apep) holds the ‘cosmic egg’ out of which the sun (or Ra) is born (or the god Brahma, as the Hindu rewrite tells things).

Najovits, to continue, dates Hermopolis theology as follows: [6]

“Extrapolating from a few Pyramid Texts (Utterance 301 which refers to Nun, Naunet, Amun and Amaunet together), the reference to Hermopolis as the "Unu (Heliopolis) of the south" (Utterance 219) and references to "chaos gods" (Utterances 558, 406), the Hermopolitan Ogdoad appears to have been Egypt's second oldest grouping of divinities. However, its theology and creation myth are mainly known from inscriptions in the surviving Theban Karnak Temple (after c. 1550 BC) as there are no surviving remains of the Hermopolis Temple.”

In 2000, Gary Greenberg stated there was a "Hermopolis recension", during which time the Ogdoad theory of gods was prevalent, but seemingly situates this recension after the Memphis recension. [5]

Memphis 2
The city of Memphis, located in nome #2 of Lower Egypt, where the great pyramids of Giza are located, the location of the third major religious recension in Egypt.
3. Memphis recension | 2800-2100BC
See main: Memphis theology (Memphis recension)
In 2003, Canadian-born French Egyptologist Simson Najovits cogently argued, seemingly, that the Memphis theogony was third in historical development:

“It can be supposed that the inclusion of gods from the Heliopolis and Hermopolis Enneads in the Memphis Ennead could have had strictly theological reasons for amalgamating the gods, but it could have also been an attempt to avoid irritating the powerful clergies of Heliopolis and Hermopolis. Moreover, the key constitutive elements in Memphite theologycreation by the head mind and the tongue/word — could have been a radicalization of the Heliopolitan concept that Atum was self-created with the assistance of god Sia, the personification of perception, and the god Hu, the personification of creative utterance. At the same time, Ptah's existence before Atum as much as it can be seen as a theological concept of divine pre-existence, also can easily be interpreted as a sign that the Memphite Temple sought to dominate the older Heliopolitan Temple. Despite claims that the Memphite Ennead and theology were the oldest in Egypt, it seems that the inclusion of gods from Heliopolis and Hermopolis and the development of Heliopolitan theological concepts would logically make it posterior to these latter enneads.”

Religio-mythology scholar Gary Greenberg (2000), alternatively, seems to loosely situate the Memphis recension before the Hermopolis recension, wherein an adoption and modification of the Heliopolis model occurred, such that the new chief god Ptah summoned forth Atum from the Nun via spoken word. [5]

→ Babylonian redaction | 1800BC
(add) [11]

Thebes 1
The city of Thebes, nome #4 of Upper Egypt, the cite of Theban recension, the fourth major religious morph in Egyptian dynasty religion models.
4. Theban recension | 18th-19th dynasties | 1550-1200BC
In 1915, Scottish mythologist Lewis Spence, using the Budge three recension model, summarized the Theban recension as follows: [3]

“The Theban recension was much in vogue from the Eighteenth to the Twenty-second Dynasties, and was usually written upon papyri and painted upon coffins in hieroglyphs. Each chapter was preserved distinct from the others, but appears to have had no distinct place in the entire collection.”

Greenberg states that Thebes, with its local deity Amun, came to power in 2040BC. [5] Spencer states that the Theban recension was in vogue from the 18th (1549BC) to 22nd dynasty (720BC). [4]

5. Armana redaction | Atenism | 1300BC
In 1352BC to 1336BC, the radical pharaoh Akhenaten attempted, during his reign, in one swipe, to do away with polytheism, and moved the national religious center from Thebes to Amarna, and to situate worship to the one god Aten, in the form of the sun disc with arms. The attempt was short-lasting, but had long-term repercussion effects. Many, such as Sigmund Freud (1939), credit the origin of the character of Moses to the events of this period.

Persian redaction | 1100-600BC
(see: Abraham and Brahma)

Hindu redaction | 900BC
(add) [11]

6. Saite recension | 26th dynasty | 600BC
In 1915, Scottish mythologist Lewis Spence, using the Budge three recension model, summarized the Saite recension, which occurred in Sais, the capital of the Saite dynasty, or 26th Dynasty (664–525 BC), as follows: [3]

“The Saite recension was definitely arranged at some date prior to the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, and is written upon coffins and papyri, and also in hieratic and demotic script. It continued to be employed to the end of the Ptolemaic period.”

In 1990, Lewis Spence stated that the Saite recension was arranged at some date prior to the 26th dynasty (672BC), as written also in hieratic and demotic script, which continued to be employed to the end of the Ptolemaic period (30BC).

7. Hebrew redaction | 1000-500BC
See main: Judaic recension
In 2000, Gary Greenberg, in his 101 Myth of the Bible (pg. 7), described what he referred to as "Hebrew redaction", in short, as follows:

“The Hebrew redactors used Egyptian myths to make the biblical stories; which, from time to time, had Babylonian myths grafted onto earlier texts or replaced portions of the original stories.”

In more detail, according to the documentary hypothesis, as summarized by Greenberg (2000) this redaction involved at least involving 4 source documents and 1 editor; summarized as follows:



A source1300BCAten[see: Aten’s finger]
AR source1250BCAmun; Ra

J source
1000BCYHWY; Jahweh [Yahweh]Heliopolis recension roots [4]
E source
922BCEl; ElohimEl god based roots
P source
Theban recension roots [4]
D source


In more detail, according to the so-called documentary hypothesis, first decoded by French Biblical scholar Jean Astruck (1753), who noted a distinction between the Jahvist god and Elohist god textual sources, these scholars or editor, took four Egyptian mythology source documents, aka the: J source (Jahweh theist), E source (Elohim theist), P source (theist concerned with Priestly matters, e.g. rituals, dates, numbers, measurements, etc.), and D source (theist who authored Deuteronomy), and syncretized the batch into the so-called Book of Moses. The dated origin of these different sources, including the Aten source (A source), are as follows: A source (1300BC), J source (1000BC), i.e. A morphed into J source, E source (922BC), J and E sources merged + commentary (722BC), D source (650BC), P source (586BC), final editor or redactor (500BC). [10]

The city of Alexandria, located in nome #3 of Lower Egypt, home to the famous Library of Alexandria, the city of the so-called Alexandrian redaction of Egyptian religion, which subsumed Greek mythology into the new redaction.
8. Alexandrian redaction | 322-30BC
See main: Alexandrian recension
In 332BC, when Alexander the Great conquered Egypt, therein establishing the so-called Macedonian dynasty (332-305BC), during which time he is said to have commented on how he "recognized his own religion", i.e. Greek theology (Greek mythology), in the Egyptian religion (Egyptian mythology). Sometime herein, as comparative religio-mythology indicates, there was, supposedly, some type of Alexandrian redaction, wherein the powerful priests of this period merged the Saite recension, Hebrew redaction, and Greek recension into a new version of the Old Testament.

In 1899, Wallis Budge, in his Egyptian Religion, while not referring to it as a recension, described the Ptolemaic period theology (Macedonian dynasty + Ptolemaic dynasty), wherein he says Amen held the supreme position, citing the Kerasher papyrus (27 BC - AD 14), as follows: [8]

“In the Ptolemaic period, in an address to the deceased Kerasher we read "Thy face shineth before Ra, thy soul liveth before Amen, and thy body is renewed before Osiris." And again it is said, " Amen is nigh unto thee to make thee to live again. . . . Amen cometh to thee having the breath of life, and he causeth thee to draw thy breath within thy funeral house.”

At this recension point, as we see, Egyptian theology is tri-theistic, belief situated in three gods: Ra (forerunner to Abraham), Amen (forerunner to god the father), and Osiris (forerunner to god the son, or Jesus).

In 2012, Timothy Freke, during his documentary commentary on the Jesus myth, gave some cogent summary of the Alexandrian redaction. [9]

Jesus myth books (2012)
The above four books: Dorothy Murdock’s The Christ Conspiracy (1999), Timothy Freke’s The Jesus Mysteries (1999), Joseph Atwill’s Caesar’s Messiah (2006), and Kenneth Humphreys’ Jesus Never Existed (2005), the four main books behind Atwill’s 2012 documentary film on the so-called “Flavian Jesus hypothesis”, aka the “first Roman redaction”, dig around in the muddle of the invention of Jesus from the religious milieu brewing at the time.
9. Roman redaction | 69-325 AD
See main: Roman recension
In the Roman period, there seems to have been first a Roman redaction (69-96AD), during which time the then-prevalent recensions were morphed into a crude Christ-centric theology, based on Osiris myth, which was followed by a second Roman recension, culminating in the Nicene council (325AD)

In 2012, Joseph Atwill, author of Caesar’s Messiah: the Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus (2005), in his 2012 documentary on the same subject, argued that the modern version of the Jesus figure was invented by the Caesars or Flavian dynasty (69-96AD) (Ѻ), and therein seems to give a decent summary of an aspect of the “first Roman redaction”.

In 1770, Baron d'Holbach, in his Critical History of Jesus Christ: a Rational Analysis of the Gospels, summarizes the Nicene recension, by parodying the fact that it involved some 50 source documents (only four of which were kept) and 318 bishops (of numerous languages and religions).

10. James recension | 1611 AD
In 1611, the King James Bible was produced, through the editing efforts of a committed of 47 priests (see: Genesis), which supplanted the Latin vulgate version used previously, therein in cutting a number of sections to the opening creation descriptions to genesis.

In 2007, Wikipedia Egyptian scholar Jeff Dahl (Ѻ), of note, was posting tenuous objections to the Budge-Naville recension theory.

The following are related quotes:

“These various recensions of these wonderful compositions—of the collection of religious texts generally known by the name Book of the Dead—cover a period of more than five-thousand years.”
Wallis Budge (1899), Egyptian Religion (pg. ix)

“No one can make the search and discover these numberless resemblances without forming the conviction that the Bible writings are ‘rescripts’, often … corrupted, of ancient wisdom literature.”
Alvin Kuhn (1944), Who is the King of Glory? (pg. 191); cited by Tom Harpur (2004) in The Pagan Christ (pg. 30) [6]

1. (a) Faulkner, Raymond Goelet, Ogden, Andrews, Carol, and Wasserman, James. (2008). The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day - The Complete Papyrus of Ani Featuring Integrated Text and Full-Color Images (chapters, pg. 18; recensions, pg. 144). Chronical Books.
(b) Karl Richard Lepsius – Wikipedia.
2. (a) Faulkner, Raymond Goelet, Ogden, Andrews, Carol, and Wasserman, James. (2008). The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day - The Complete Papyrus of Ani Featuring Integrated Text and Full-Color Images (chapters, pg. 18; recensions, pg. 144). Chronical Books.
(b) Edouard Naville – Wikipedia.
3. (a) Spence, Lewis. (1915). Ancient Egyptian Myths and Legends (§: The Three Recensions, pgs. 114-). Dover, 1990.
(b) Lewis Spence – Wikipedia.
4. Greenberg, Gary. (2000). 101 Myths of the Bible: How Ancient Scribes Invented Biblical History (roots, pgs. 3-4; pgs. 4-5). Source Books.
5. Romer, John. (2008). The Egyptian Book of the Dead (§:Historical Outline, pgs. #). Penguin.
6. Najovits, Simson R. (2003). Egypt, Trunk of the Tree, Vol. I: A Modern Survey of and Ancient Land (pg. 107). Algora.
7. Colombo, John R. (2009). “Interview of Simson Najovits” (Ѻ), Gurdjieff Books, WordPress.
8. Budge. Wallis. (1899). Egyptian Religion: Egyptian Ideas of a Future Life (pg. 79). Publisher.
9. (a) Heede, Fritz. (2012). Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus (Ѻ) (about). Publisher.
(b) Freke, Timothy. (2012). “The Jesus Myth – Timothy Freke” (Ѻ), Caesar’s Messiah, Sep 1.
10. (a) Freud, Sigmund. (1939). Moses and Monotheism (pg. 50). Vintage, 1955.
(b) Jordan, Michael. (1993). Encyclopedia of Gods: Over 2,500 Deities of the World (pg. 74). Facts on File, Inc.
(c) Greenberg, Gary. (2000). 101 Myths of the Bible: How Ancient Scribes Invented Biblical History (pg. #). Source Books.
(d) Thims, Libb. (2016). Smart Atheism: For Kids (pdf | 309-pgs) (pg. 131). Publisher.
11. Thims, Libb. (2016). Smart Atheism: For Kids (pdf | 309-pgs) (§:Noah, pgs. 89-143) . Publisher.
12. (a) (c.1893). La Mythology Egyptienne (pg. 257). Publisher.
(b) Budge, Wallis. (1904). The Gods of the Egyptians, Volume One (pg. 404). Dover, 1969.
13. Fletcher, Joann. (2002). The Egyptian Book of Living and Dying: the Illustrated Guide to Ancient Egyptian Wisdom (pg. 9). Thorsons.

External links
Recension – Wikipedia.
Ancient Egyptian creation myths – Wikipedia.

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