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Title: L'écriture énigmatique égyptienne est-elle énigmatique?
Author(s): MEEKS, Dimitri
Journal: Bibliotheca Orientalis
Volume: 78    Issue: 5-6   Date: 2021   
Pages: 552-567
DOI: 10.2143/BIOR.78.5.3290402

Abstract :
The so-called Egyptian «enigmatic» writing has captured the attention of Egyptologists since the origins of their discipline. Over the past two decades its study has known a considerable development under the impulse of some devoted scholars, providing all interested in hieroglyphs, including non-Egyptologists, with an important overview of their discoveries and progresses. Their efforts give new insights about the complex mechanisms involved in the creation of new signs and new cryptic values. The problems the contributors were confronted with concern first the use, over generations, of typographic types unable to capture all the details the hieroglyphs show on monuments. Details, however, prove to be of real importance when it comes to decipher enigmatic texts and current digital fonts could only partly overcome this shortcoming. Facsimiles are not used systematically, usually for technical reasons. This has an impact on the final scientific publications. Another difficulty is raised by the fact that hieroglyphs are supposed to be a gift of gods to humans. Each sign has philosophical and theological backgrounds which are not quite obvious at first sight. Such backgrounds are significantly at stake in the resolution of the correct reading and understanding of enigmatic texts. As the two volumes presented here represent the first overall synthesis of what is known and what was recently discovered about this type of writing, they offer an essential groundwork for future research.

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