Turin Papyrus

Discussion of Julian Jaynes's third hypothesis - dating the development of consciousness to roughly 1500-1200 BCD in Egypt, Greece, and Mesopotamia (the transition occurred at different times in different places around the world). Includes analysis of ancient texts (such as the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Bible), linguistics, and archeological evidence from ancient civilizations as it pertains to the transition from the bicameral mind to consciousness.
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Turin Papyrus

Post by rdixey »

Does anyone have a comment on the dating of the Turin Papyrus? This is an partial papyrus containing erotic images, dated to the Ramesside period of 12C BCE. One of the most impressive predictions of the 'Origins' is the observation that bicameral cultures had no erotic art, as eroticism requires an inner space in which to fantasize. Yet this papyrus appears to predate by some period the point at which bicamerality broke down according to Jaynes' analysis, some 300 years before the Iliad.
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Re: Turin Papyrus

Post by Moderator »

This is precisely the kind of research that we need more of, to help further elucidate and refine Jaynes's theory. If the ~1180 B.C. dating turns out to be correct, this would coincide very closely with Jaynes's rough estimate of 1200 B.C. for the transition to consciousness around the Mediterranean. But given that one would probably not expect to see this type of art so soon, it could be that Egypt transitioned slightly earlier. It is interesting that this type of erotic art does not appear in Greece for at least another 500 hundred years. Jaynes initially felt that consciousness first appeared in Greece, but in later lecture discussions said it was also possible that it began in Egypt.

As to the issue of falsifiability brought up recently on forum, this provides a good example. If something like this were found to be dated to, say, 2000 B.C., that would call into question at the very least Jaynes's time line. Much more research needs to be done on refining the dating, especially in places like South America.
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