Scholar discovers new meaning in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics

Susan Brind Morrow reveals a radical new interpretation of the Pyramid Texts, which are considered the world's most ancient sacred writings.

The Pyramid Texts are hieroglyphics that were found in Egypt in 1881, carved on the wall of the pyramids at Saqqara. Dating back approximately 4000 years, they are considered the world's earliest sacred texts.

Previous translators interpreted them as primitive spells, incantations and chants, used primarily to protect the pharaoh's remains and to help him transition to the afterlife.

"This is why my book is quite a radical book because I'm saying no, no, these are poetic verses..." - Susan Brind Morrow

In her latest book, The Dawning Moon of the Mind: Unlocking the Pyramid TextsSusan Brind Morrow presents a radically different interpretation. Brind Morrow believes them to be a coherent work of poetry, a religious and philosophical text that is deeply rooted in nature. She says the Pyramid Texts reveal much about how the ancient Egyptians viewed life and death, and have influenced many subsequent spiritual traditions.

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Compared translations of the Pyramid Text

7 years ago
Duration 0:52
Compared translations of the Pyramid Text

"It should be more widely known that hieroglyphs are a grammatical language with an alphabet that is very much like our own and a sentence structure. A word will end with a picture that defines the meaning of the word. For example, the word for 'red' is ended with a flamingo." - Susan Brind Morrow 

Susan Brind Morrow is a poet and a writer who has spent many years studying hieroglyphics. She was just 16 years old when she enrolled at Barnard College to study Greek and Egyptian hieroglyphs. She went on to study Classics, Arabic and Egyptology at Columbia University. She has spent time travelling in Egypt, Sudan and Central Africa as an archeologist and linguist. Brind Morrow was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006 for her work on the Pyramid Texts.

Win a copy of Susan Brind Morrow's book

We have a copy of Susan Brind Morrow's book, The Dawning Moon of the Mind: Unlocking the Pyramid Texts, to give away.

To enter your name into the draw, send us an email: tapestry@cbc.ca. Please put 'Pyramid Texts' in the subject line.

Click here to read the CBC's generic contest rules.


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