I am becoming what I am becoming

Numberup at worldnet.att.net Numberup at worldnet.att.net
Sun Sep 17 14:56:54 EDT 2000

Ancient Egyptian is classified as an Afro-Asiatic [earlier,
Semito-Hamitic] language, though the extent of Semitic influence is
debated.  Egyptian Xeper [Kheper], similar to Hebrew/Aramaic HWH/HYH
means, "to be, to become, or the thing which has come into being."
(Wallis Budge.)  Of the god with that name, it is written "xeperu kua em
xeperu en xepera xeper em sep tepi":  "I am the one who came into being
as Khepri.  When I came into being, being itself came into being."
(Joseph Kaster's translation).  There is this play on the verb
xeper/kheper in many Egyptian writings, especially the Pyramid Texts.

Theologically, Kephri was the rising sun that is "coming into being,"
with Ra being the sun at high noon, and Atum ["complete"] as the setting

Solomon Landers

barre at nethere.com wrote:

> Then Moses said to El(ohim), "I am to go, then, to the sons of Israel
> and
> say to them, 'The god of your fathers has sent me to you.'  But if
> they ask
> me what his name is, what am I to tell them?  And El(ohim) said to
> Moses, "I am becoming what I am Becoming.  This," he added, "is what
> you must say to the sons of Israel: 'I am Becoming' has sent me to
> you.'"
> And El(ohim) also said to Moses, "You are to say  to the sons of
> Israel:
> 'YHWH, the god of your fathers, the god of Abraham, the god of Isaac,
> and the god of Jacob, has sent me to you."  This is my name for all
> time;
> by this Name I shall be invoked for all generations to come.
> The  unusual  rendering of the Hebrew, ´eyeh aser ´eyeh  as "I am
> becoming what I am
> Becoming" is informed by the fact that both the form and content of
> this formulaic
> expression finds it closest parallel not in Semitic thought but in
> Hamitic ontological
> speculation.  Its formulation, based on a theological word-play of the
> verb "to
> be(come)," not only reveals that we are dealing with ontology in a
> strict sense, but also
> that such a formulation is characteristically Egyptian.  Consider, for
> example, this
> comparable formulation taken from an Egyptian grammar regarding the
> verb, xeper ("to
> be[come]"):
>                          xeper-a xeper xeperu
> ´
>                            "I  who became
>                              made become
>                        the beings who became."
> We note three similarities to the formula found in the Elohist's
> epic.  First, the divine
> name is predicated upon a repetition of a verb, the Egyptian version
> repeating it three
> times as subject, verb and object while the Hebrew version repeats it
> twice with the
> second occurrence functioning syntactically as an objective,
> subordinate predication
> introduced by the relative particle, aser.  Although the syntax
> varies, the two
> formulations are similar in the central importance of the repeated
> verb.  Second, the
> verbs themselves, adjusting for the different cultures that produced
> them, are roughly
> semantic equivalents, both meaning "to be" or "to become."  Third,
> both formulations
> are theological proclamations, intended to expose the essential
> characteristics of a deity
> based upon a distinctively Egyptian perspective.  As such, it stands
> apart from typical
> Semitic understandings of divinity, but is demonstrably at home within
> Egyptian
> religious tradition.
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