Between common phraseology and intertextuality: Preliminary notes on phraseological correspondences in New Kingdom Theban tombs’ creation hymns

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


Several New Kingdom Theban tombs include laudatory texts in their textual decorative programmes, some of which are highly informative in what the concepts of Creator and Creation are concerned – the main research topic of my ongoing PhD thesis. These are attested throughout the entire period in tumular structures in various Theban necropoleis, such as Dra Abu el-Naga, Sheikh ab del-Qurna, el-Khokha, and Asasif.
A few common creation-related phraseological features can be observed among the tombs, be they contemporary or not (e.g., TT 57 (7) [temp. Amenhotep III] and TT 41 (6) [temp. Ramesside]). Furthermore, such an (inter)textual repertoire is likewise observable in contemporary non-Theban sources (see, for instance, the late-Eighteenth dynasty TT 50 (7/8) and the Hymn of Tura), hinting at possible wider textual production and circulation patterns. On the other hand, even if said inscriptions may appear identical at first glance, a closer look at them invites to nuance such an assumption. Factors such as textual layout, spatial constraints, the location of the text within the tomb, or even scribal agency and expertise may impact specific spellings and other (ortho)graphical features.
This contribution will offer some preliminary thoughts on phraseological correspondences attested in creation-related texts engraved in New Kingdom Theban tombs. By adopting a synchronic and a diachronic approach, an attempt will be made to answer the following and related questions: where and when does this textual transmission occur? Are the tombs geographically close? Are the texts engraved in the same ‘location’ within the tombs in which they are attested? Can one detect clusters of textual motifs? Which variations can be observed in different scribal ‘copies’? Furthermore, is the attestation of identical phraseology in several texts, particularly in incipits, clear-cut evidence of intertextuality? In sum, understanding that similarity does not necessarily equate to sameness, New Kingdom Theban creation hymns will be taken as a fruitful textual corpus to address intertextuality and interconnectedness in Theban scribal practices of the period.
Period10 Nov 2023
Event titleTextual Production and Textual Transmission in the Eighteenth-Dynasty Theban Necropolis
Event typeWorkshop
LocationLiège, BelgiumShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Ancient Egyptian Religion
  • Intertextuality
  • New Kingdom (Egyptology)
  • Theban Tombs
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Textual Transmission
  • Creation
  • Religious Hymns
  • Textual Production