In Your Name of Sarcophagus: The “Name Formula” in the Pyramid Texts

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Jennifer Hellum

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Abstract

The “name formula” (“…in your name of…”) in Egyptian religious literature is quite common and is found from the Fourth Dynasty to the Thirtieth Dynasty. A consistent feature in the formula is the application of paronomasia. In this context and in the context of religious literature generally, paronomasia is used as a means of aligning one’s self with the divine. Other features of the “name formula,” such as its essentially binary structure and the types of names given, also work to promote this divine connection. In fact, all of these features together are important enough to the application of the “name formula” that they seem, indeed, to be the reason for its use, rather than the actual meaning of the names themselves. This study examines the use of names in the Pyramid Texts through a study of nicknames, paronomasia, and the latent divine power inherent in naming in a religious context.

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