Putting Pen to Papyrus | God's World News

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Putting Pen to Papyrus
Time Machine
Posted: March 01, 2022
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    Students practice writing hieroglyphics. (Hoda Abdelaziz/Facebook)
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    Hoda Abdelaziz talks to students in a museum. (Hoda Abdelaziz/Facebook)
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    A restorer works on engravings, including hieroglyphics, on a limestone tomb belonging to a high-ranking royal butler dating back 3,350 years in Saqqara, Egypt. (AP/Ben Curtis)
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    What objects do you see in these hieroglyphics? (Clio20/GNU FDL)
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Here comes Hoda Abdelaziz. Her students are waiting . . . to learn hieroglyphics!

Hieroglyphics is a script. Script is different from language. Language usually refers to a group of spoken words. A script is a collection of characters used to write that language down. Have you ever studied a script different from your own?

Ancient Egyptians began using hieroglyphics thousands of years ago. Some of these symbols stand for sounds, just like our letters do. Others represent whole ideas, like our words do.

Hieroglyphics offer a peek into history. “The beauty of hieroglyphics,” says Ms. Abdelaziz, “is that each symbol has a meaning. The symbol represents something in nature.”

What types of objects surrounded the ancient Egyptians? What animals lived near them? What ideas did they think about? The symbols they chose for hieroglyphics give us some idea.

No people group regularly uses Egyptian hieroglyphics anymore. And kids don’t usually learn the script in school either—not even in Egypt. Normally, only adults earning advanced degrees study this old way of writing.

But that’s changing. “I am so happy today that I began to learn the hieroglyphic language,” says one boy. He is one of Ms. Abdelaziz’s students. “It is the language of my ancestors from the time of the Pharaohs.”

Where did Ms. Abdelaziz get the idea to teach hieroglyphics? Five years ago, she took her students to visit museums and art galleries. She explained the story of Egyptian hieroglyphics: The script was forgotten for a time. Eventually, people rediscovered it. Her students were fascinated. Ms. Abdelaziz began writing a curriculum. Now kids in schools all over Egypt might relearn the old script. They’ll be doing exactly what Ms. Abdelaziz hopes: remembering their heritage.

Why? God has given people language so they can know Him and one another. When people write, they’re showing one part of their “image-of-God-ness.”