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Offline Reader Questions

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Amen and Amun-Ra the Egyptian God
« on: December 01, 2011, 03:17:38 AM »
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Dear Brother Joseph,

Thank you for these postings. Interestingly, I had just been pondering 'Amen'.

I have noted that the word 'Amen' is not present in all biblical editions of Matthew 6. I am not a biblical historian but am curious as to whether 'Amen' appears the oldest biblical translations. I agree with the common understanding of the meaning of Amen (truly, verily) but have read articles which tie the word's origin back to the Egyptian god Amen-Ra. What are your views on this?

[A sister in faith]

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Amen and Amun-Ra the Egyptian God
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2011, 03:22:20 AM »
Salamun Alaikum

Thank you for your email.


The etymological source of 'Amen' is Hebrew not Egyptian. As you will no doubt appreciate, two words having similar phonetics in different languages does not make them the same word or to have the same meaning.

For example, there are many words in Arabic that would amount to profanity in other languages. A word means what a word is intended to mean and generally what it is understood to mean in a particular vernacular. Even within the same language, words develop different meanings over a period of time. If I were to pray to my Lord to ask Him to make me 'gay', this would mean something completely different in its modern usage as it would have done to someone a few centuries ago.

The meaning of the word 'Amen' has been understood in Hebrew in the same manner as it was understood in Greek, Latin or Arabic. It was Greek that imported the Hebrew 'Amen' with its meaning and then passed from Late Latin into other Western languages such as English.

To tie this word back to Amun and the Sun-God 'Ra' because of phonetic similarity in my view is unwarranted.

There is also no cogent scholarly support in my view that the two words are linked as referencing a God of Egyptian mythology due to phonetic similarity.

In my own study of earlier Biblical manuscripts, I have noted that some of the earlier 'best' manuscripts do preserve the usage of 'Amen'.

The Codex Sinaiticus, the earliest complete Christian Bible circa 350 CE (Approximately 250 years before the revelation of the Quran), is considered one of the best texts in Greek of the New Testament along with the manuscript of the Codex Vaticanus. Alexandrian manuscripts are well known to scholars as representing some of the 'best' manuscripts.

As an example, in 1 Timothy 1:17 we note clear usage of 'Amen'.

[Please see:]

Albeit this is an early ancient manuscript, the King James Version which relied on later medieval scripts translates the whole verse as:

"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen."

So 'Amen' is known to the early manuscripts as well.

I hope this helps,

Your brother in faith,

'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell