billd89 wrote: ↑Thu May 12, 2022 11:29 am
Sethians are ancient, pre-dating the Septuguint. See Lloyd D. Graham "Which Seth? Untangling some close homonyms from ancient Egypt and the Near East" 2021 paper.
This paper aims to disambiguate the proper name “Seth” and its cognates or homonyms – perfect or imperfect – in texts from ancient Egypt, the Near East and the Mediterranean. It considers:
- the Suteans, West Semitic Amorite/Aramean nomads who feature negatively in Mesopotamian records;
- S(h)eth in the Hebrew bible, in which a disparaged southerly Sutean group (“sons of Sheth”) may have been recast as the virtuous lineage of the third son of Adam (“sons of Seth”);
- Seth, the Egyptian god of tumult and confusion, who has some elements in common with the Judeo‑Christian Satan;
- Seth of the Jewish pseudepigrapha, a positive embellishment of the biblical figure;
- the Gnostic Seth, a further embellishment of the biblical/pseudepigraphical figure; and
- Seth as an agent invoked in magical texts.
Accordingly, the paper provides an integrated review of six Sethian subject areas that are seldom considered together; they are examined here through an Egyptological lens. The survey reveals that the two principal Seths – the Egyptian god and the son of Adam – maintain almost entirely separate trajectories in the religious and magical literature of ancient Egypt and beyond.
Yep the name 'Seth' had many applications.
Though this thread is mainly about the Gnostic Seth (accounts of which had influences, as that helpful paper shows, from Egypt among other places)
The Apocalypse of Adam – an early (First- to Second‑Century AD) Gnostic tractate written in Coptic, found at Nag Hammadi in Egypt – reprises the Jewish pseudepigraphic theme of Seth (Cy;) receiving instruction from Adam in divine knowledge shortly before his death (Apoc. Adam NHC V:64.1–7; MacRae – Parrott 1988:279); the substance of this privileged information forms the bulk of the text. At least some of the Sethian Gnostic texts are thought to have been composed in Egypt; for example, the tractate named The Three Steles of Seth – which claims to convey the antediluvian secrets inscribed on the tablets designed to survive flood and fire (Pearson 1990:74) – was probably written in Alexandria during the Third Century AD (Goehring – Robinson 1988:397). Success in promoting the Sethian lineage as the guardian of ancient knowledge (as witnessed here and in the previous section) probably explains why, in Sethian Gnosticism, the biblical/pseudepigraphical Seth completely supplanted Enoch as the primary representative of antediluvian wisdom (Orlov 2001; Annus 2012:36–37) [33: 1 Enoch, which has already been mentioned several times, was an influential proto‑Gnostic peudepigraphon (Second to First Century BC) in which Enoch is the wisdom‑figure].
In these Gnostic circles, Seth was in fact developed into a divine Saviour who was in some cases equated with Jesus in his role as Christ (Pearson 1990:53–54, 57, 74, 76–78; Cannuyer 2017:39). Both figures were considered to be the authentic image of God (Turner 2019: 152), and the “new start” afforded by the birth of the biblical Seth (Gen 4:25) was considered to parallel the new beginning offered by the birth of Jesus (Onasch 1980:107) ...
The Egyptian Seth has a longstanding association with homosexuality (te Velde 1967: 32–46); for example, in the New Kingdom Contendings of Horus and Seth, Seth is lampooned as a homosexual who first violates his nephew Horus and who later is tricked into receiving Horus’s semen, which makes him pregnant (P. Chester Beatty I:11.12; Wente 2003:99–100; te Velde 1967:43). In the Gnostic Gospel of the Egyptians (NHC III:60.9–29; Böhlig–Wisse 1988:215), we are told: “Then the great Seth came and brought his seed. And it was sown in the aeons which had been brought forth, their number being the amount of Sodom. Some say that Sodom is the place of pasture of the great Seth, which is Gomorrah. But others (say) that the great Seth took his plant out of Gomorrah and planted it in the second place, to which he gave the name Sodom” [36 Klijn (1977:34) notes that the references to “plant” in this passage involve a pun on the Hebrew phrase in Gen 4:25 that explains Seth’s birth (see: Biblical Seth)]. ...
Another attempt to give an Egyptian flavour to the Gnostic Seth interprets the first word of “Emmacha Seth” in The Three Steles of Seth as hm-mm33, a Ptolemaic Egyptian epithet of the god Seth (te Velde 1967:149–150, footnote 12; Wekel 1975:572–573; Pearson 1990:81). Its meaning seems to be “the convulsed one”, i.e. it refers to the facial expression of someone suffering from a stomach problem. Pearson (1990: 81) has dismissed the proposed borrowing on the basis that an Egyptian word starting with x would normally enter Greek with either σ or x as its initial consonant, and Cannuyer (2017:38, footnote 98) concurs. In image- rather than language‑ based speculation, the identification of Seth (son of Adam) with Jesus in some Christian Gnostic circles has prompted the suggestion that the association of his Egyptian namesake with the donkey (see: Egyptian Seth) might have inspired the mockery of Christians in general as donkey‑worshippers (Hofrichter 2003: 300). However, it is more likely that Jesus was derided as a donkey because all Christians regarded him as an emanation or representative of YHWH, for whom pejorative identifications with the donkey have already been noted (see: Egyptian Seth) (Cannuyer 2017:30) ...
Pearson (1981:81–82) observes that the pseudepigraphical/Gnostic Seth – an inscriber and revealer of divine secrets – has far more in common with Thoth – the Egyptian god of knowledge and writing – than with the Egyptian god Seth, pointing out that Manetho’s Ægyptiaca (History of Egypt) was supposedly based on ancient inscriptions written by Thoth. This is essentially true; Syncellus relates that Manetho – an Egyptian priest writing in the Ptolemaic Period – claimed as his source “the monuments lying in the Seriadic land in the sacred language and inscribed in hieroglyphic characters by Thoth the first Hermes and translated after the deluge from the sacred language into the Greek language” (Verbrugghe – Wickersham 1996: 174).