Wisdom Dwells in Pyramids. Topological Approaches to Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts
The ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts describe a rite of passage that leads the deceased across a liminal threshold of awareness into the afterlife. The spatial semantics of the texts’ language is shaped by the cognitive processing and verbalisation of religious imagery underlying the spatial construction of this netherworld journey. Meanwhile, the topological perspective regards these spatial patterns as relational ordering principles for embedding and verbalising religious and ritual contents. This project is committed to a non-reductionist method of cognitive semantics that defines religious knowledge as a semantically relevant reference value that is inseparable from linguistic knowledge. The phenomenology of landscape stands at the heart of the project, raising questions of how the geographic environment influences cultural imaginations of the afterlife. The idea is that the netherworld imagery of the Pyramid Texts reflects the cultural landscapes of the Nile Valley in the 24th century BCE.
Kristina Hutter studied Egyptology at University of Vienna. She was a Research Assistant at the project Egyptian Root Lexicon and University Assistant (praedoc, uni:docs fellow) at the Institute for Egyptology in Vienna. Here, she also teaches Middle Egyptian language and is currently writing her PhD Thesis on the topic of »Topological Concepts in Old Kingdom Pyramid Texts. Spatial Imagery of the Beyond in Ancient Egyptian Religious Literature.« She received a research grant from the Foundation for Postgraduates in Egyptology (Austrian Academy of Sciences) and was awarded funding by the Dr. Maria Schaumayer Stiftung. She undertook several research trips to Egypt and was a Fellow at Vienna Doctoral Academy: Theory and Methodology in the Humanities (working group: Spatial Theory). Her main research interests include ancient Egyptian funerary culture, ritual theory and phenomenology of landscape as well as topological and cognitive-semantic approaches to religious texts.
»Locating the Beyond. On Problems and Possibilities of Interpreting Spatial Information in the Pyramid Texts«, in: Ola el-Aguizy und Burt Kasparian (eds.), Proceedings of the International Congress of Egyptologists XII, Kairo (forthcoming), 10-page manuscript; »Ein Ort mit Perspektive. Gedanken zur Erschließung der Raumsemantik in den Pyramidentexten«, in: Alexandra Verbovsek, Dina Serova, Burkhard Backes, Matthieu W. Götz (eds.), (Un)Sterblichkeit: Schrift – Körper – Kult. Beiträge des neunten Berliner Arbeitskreises Junge Aegyptologie (BAJA 9) 30.11.–2.12.2018 (= GOF IV / 67), Wiesbaden 2020, pp. 75–86; Das sdm=f-Paradigma im Mittelägyptischen. Eine Vergleichsstudie verschiedener Grammatiken (= Lingua Aegyptia – Studia Monographica 18), Hamburg 2017.
Die altäyptischen Pyramidentexte beschreiben ein Übergangsritual, das den Verstorbenen mittels einer sprachlich kodierten Jenseitskarte den Weg weist. Die Verräumlichung religiöser Vorstellungen verbirgt dabei ein verstehensrelevantes Wissen, das die Sinnzusammenhänge der Jenseitsreise bedingt.