It's sometimes surprising how many elements of Christianity derive from Ancient Egypt. The Trinity, Moses in his basket, even some of the Psalms and Proverbs.
However, did you know that it is very likely that the name of the mother of Jesus himself (Mary, in case you're new to this) is derived from Egyptian?
We need to go back to the story of the Exodus for this. Moses (a perfectly good Egyptian name of the New Kingdom, usually rendered "Mose" in Egyptological anglicisations) had a sister named Miriam. The traditional meaning of this is "Bitterness", reflecting the tough time the Hebrews were apparently having at the hands of a rather truculent Pharaoh. That this is an unlikely etymology of Miriam's name is pretty darned obvious. Nobody calls their child "pain in the arse", even if they *are*.
There is a more likely explanation. "Miriam" is nothing other than a slight contraction of the relatively common female first name "Meret-Amun". The "t" was silent in spoken Egyptian of this period, so it would have been vocalised "Meryamun". The "un" simply got dropped (either deliberately or by accident). This is supported by Miriam's role as a priestess; while she was evidently a colleague of Mose, it is not clear whether she actually was his sister.
So we are faced with the irony that the mother of the Christ in fact had the theophoric name of a "pagan" god. While this poses no problem for a Christian Atheist (to whom Christianity is but one manifestation of a wide cultural load carried by humanity in general), it may bother some fundamentalists.
That in itself seems to me like a good reason to carry out some more research, in order to see whether this is a supportable hypothesis, or just pie in the sky.
We've done it again! This time we biked from Petra in Jordan up to Nazareth in Israel, to raise money for the Nazareth Hospital CT Scanner appeal. Nazareth is the largest Arab town in Israel, but they still don't have a dedicated Stroke Unit to cope with this devastating condition and major cause of death. Click here to find out more, and please help this fantastic cause. Thanks!