What was in the Book of Thoth?
The god of wisdom, writing, and magic was known as Thoth. He was also known for being associated with the moon and the measurement of time. In addition, he was regarded as the patron of artists and scholars. It’s widely believed that Thoth wrote numerous sacred texts that contained significant information about the universe and God. The Book of Thoth is a name given to works that were inspired by him.
A collection of writings that varied in length, format, and content, the Book of Thoth is not a single book but rather a series of interconnected texts that can be found in various languages and hieroglyphs. Some of these have been attributed to ancient authors, while some are legends, fiction, or legends. Some of these writings were preserved on stone tablets, temple walls, or papyrus scrolls.
The Book of Thoth tackled a wide range of subjects, including theology, history, astronomy, philosophy, geography, astrology, alchemy, and magic. While some of these were regarded as sacred or esoteric, others were more accessible and practical. Some of these were written for initiates and priests, while others were for the general public.
Some examples of the texts that were part of the Book of Thoth are:
The 42 Books of Thoth: According to the Egyptian historian Manetho (3rd century BCE), Thoth wrote 36,525 books that contained all the wisdom and knowledge of the Egyptians. However, only 42 books were considered sacred and kept in the temple libraries. These books covered topics such as hymns, rituals, temple construction, astrology, geography, and medicine.
The Emerald Tablet: According to legend, this was a tablet made of green stone that contained a summary of Thoth’s teachings on alchemy and the secrets of creation. It was said to have been found by Hermes Trismegistus (a Greek name for Thoth) in a hidden chamber under the Great Pyramid of Giza. The tablet was translated into various languages and influenced many alchemists and philosophers throughout history.
The Hermetic Corpus: This was a collection of Greek and Latin texts that were attributed to Hermes Trismegistus (Thoth) or his followers. These texts dealt with topics such as metaphysics, cosmology, theology, magic, astrology, and ethics. They were written between the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE and reflected a syncretism of Egyptian and Greek religious and philosophical ideas.
The Demotic Book of Thoth: This was a long dialogue between Thoth and a mortal named “He-who-loves-knowledge” that was written in demotic script (a cursive form of hieroglyphs) on several papyrus scrolls from the Graeco-Roman period (332 BCE – 395 CE). The text discussed various aspects of the gods and their sacred animals, the underworld, wisdom, prophecy, and temple ritual.
The Fictional Book of Thoth: This was a magical book that appeared in an ancient Egyptian short story from the Ptolemaic period (305 – 30 BCE), known as “Setne Khamwas and Naneferkaptah” or “Setne I”. The book was written by Thoth and contained two spells: one that allowed the reader to understand the speech of animals and one that allowed the reader to perceive the gods themselves. The book was hidden at the bottom of the Nile near Coptos and guarded by serpents. The story narrated how the Egyptian prince Setne Khamwas stole the book from the tomb of Naneferkaptah despite his opposition from his ghost.
Not only did the Book of Thoth serve as a source of knowledge, but it also served as an inspiration for other cultures. The book exhibited the diversity of the Egyptian people’s philosophical and religious beliefs. It was a testimony to Thoth’s wisdom and power.