Religious Studies

Ian Moyer

The Memphite Self-revelations of Isis and Egyptian Religion in the Hellenistic and Roman Aegean

Volume 3 () / Issue 3, pp. 318-343 (26)

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The six inscribed examples of the Memphite self-revelations of Isis are not only consistent in content, but also exhibit a regular pattern of spacing and punctuation marks. This regularity suggests the creation of a formalised, authoritative text in the first century BCE. Punctuation served to highlight elements of responsion, in particular the practice of parallelismus membrorum, a common feature of Egyptian and Semitic poetical compositions. Graphic and formal features thus reinforced the text's alterity as well as its canonicity. In ritual contexts, punctuation also served as an aid to recitation in epiphanic performances in which an officiant assumed the voice of Isis. Taken together, these features provide evidence that communities associated with Aegean sanctuaries of Isis re-asserted connections to Egyptian tradition in the late Hellenistic and early Roman period.