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Most known information about him is based on hearsay and conjecture.[citation needed][edit]

Surely the nature of the information to follow will qualify the statement without need of citation? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:25, 24 June 2011 (UTC)


Pharaoh is a much later title, not applicable to old kingdom egyptian emperoros. --ppm 20:30, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

The point is not to use words that were used then, but words that are understood now. Most egyptologists still call them all pharaohs, even Narmer. As do most people in the world at large, so by Wikipedia naming policy, it should be pharaoh. ~~~~ 21:06, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
Agree with the fourfoldsquiggleman. The other is a technicality. Hajor 22:02, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

Is "king" a word not understood now? If we insist on using an ancient egyptian word not used now, it should be the correct one, otherwise it gives a false impression of authenticity. --ppm 18:53, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

The word "king" is not really used much in the context of ancient egypt, not even for Narmer, wheras "pharaoh" is. Whether or not it is technically accurate. ~~~~ 21:33, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

Biblical words are fascinating, ain't they?--ppm 18:27, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

El certainly is. ~~~~ 19:07, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

Added bit about Imhotep's tomb. I do have a book about the whole search and imhotep in general, but couldn't find it. It also is not really my expertise. Anyone want to expand on this? Garion96 21:50, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

It's my guess that Imhotep wasn't native to Egypt and hence was not buried there. But my reasons for such a guess are theologicaly based. I'm not an Egyptologist of any kind so take it with a grain of salt. But it would, in my view, explain why such a celebrated man's postmortum whearabouts are so hard to pin down in a culture that's renowned for making i's renowned renowned in death, and doing such in a glorified physical location such as one of the many grand tombs Egypt is known for among the average joe and/or jane in modern western civilization.
unsigned by anon

Almost all Egyptologists consider Imhotep to be native, or Nubian. The problem with the early period is that SO MUCH has yet to be discovered that we know very little, mostly only rumours, and hearsay, that was transmitted down the centuries. We don't know where the biblical Joseph is buried either, nor do we know the site of the tombs of King David or of Solomon. At least even the most critical scholars believe Imhotep really existed. --Victim of signature fascism 22:56, 3 December 2005 (UTC)


The website that is in the fringe theories section seems to be very inaccurate, as I have looked up other websites for Imhotep on Google and NONE of the websites give the information that the website in the section has, which makes me think that they were just making stuff up to inflate the theory. Therefore, I believe that the link should be removed. Therealmikelvee 19:28, 10 June 2006 (UTC) 04:38, 7 November 2006 (UTC)There have been television documentaries on the theory that Imhotep was Joseph. These oddly enough include information regarding Imhotep's tomb, which the article says has never been found.

Cultural Impact[edit]

Regarding an item in the "Cultural Impact" section: Boris Karloff's character in the original Mummy film was Imhotep, not Kharis. Universal did make several movies about a mummy named Kharis, but the Boris Karloff film wasn't one of them. The name Kharis was introduced in the later films, in contrast to the way the article has it. --Frank

Since the Cultural Impact section was correctly tagged as a trivia section, but since the trivia was all about other uses for the name "Imhotep," I moved it all to Imhotep (disambiguation) and cleaned it up. Others may want to clean it up further there.
Fredwords 02:00, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Request IP ban[edit]

I edited a comment added by this IP "" since he/she edited the article to include several profanities in spanish. Im kinda new at wikipedia, but shouldn't that IP be baned? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Krasno (talkcontribs).

Responded on editor's talk. Garion96 (talk) 09:29, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

How was the I in Imhotep pronounced?[edit]

How was the "I" in "Imhotep" pronounced. Was it the short i sound as in bill and pick? It would be reasonably accurate to say something like "i(short)y-em-hotep Pamour (talk) 13:40, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Actually, nobody really knows with completely certainty how any ancient languages were pronounced. In the case of Afro-Asiatic languages, the vowels were not written (if you were a fluent speaker, you knew what they should be), as is still the case in Hebrew and Arabic inter alia today. Egyptologists learned the consonantal values by comparing personal names written in hieroglyphs to the same names written in Greek, and by searching for cognates in other languages. The vowels used to make Egyptian names pronounceable are little more than guesses, based on data from 1000–3000 years after Imhotep's time. So we know his name was imḥtp (is the dotted pharyngeal?); the i is a semivowel which could be pronounced like the English consonant y or like the i in machine. The lead sentence in the article shows a number of guesses for the vowels: different scholars differ. ''' '' Solo Owl '' ''' (talk) 17:23, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

Comment on Content: Age of Imhotep[edit]

I don't know how long he lived, but currently the article has him living to be a total of 19 years.

Yeah, that looks like a mistake. I removed it. Thanks, Garion96 (talk) 23:25, 16 May 2007 (UTC)


I agree with PPM above.

The Ancient Egyptians didn't call their kings Pharaohs until well into the New Kingdom... over a thousand years later.

Over a thousand years.

See the wiki entry Pharaoh. It was a title in a letter to Aknenaten and only LATER than THIS became a title for a king. Much later.

I do not believe it serves any good purpose to universally use the term Pharaoh as King. It creates the impression that kings in the Old Kingdom were Pharaohs. They were not. Imhotep did not serve a Pharaoh. Zoser (Djoser) was not a Pharaoh. The biblical Pharaoh was a thousand years (or more) later. People will come here and see this entry and believe that Pharaoh is correct. It is not.

And it isn't just a technicality.

I think it should say "King."

King is a better word. King is not the ancient word, it is a good, understandable word used and understood now. I'm not suggesting that we use an archaic and unknown Egyptian word (to be technically accurate). I'm suggesting that we use a conceptual word. King.

PPM is 100% correct

To use the word Pharaoh is to substitute a general conceptual word (King) with a title, which is WHOLLY inaccurate. Isn't wiki supposed to be a source of truth?

Hank01 22:19, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Question about the glyph order for Imhotep's name.[edit]


Hash: SHA1

- From a link that I found I believe the glyphs for Imhotep are reversed? It demonstrates the order of the glyphs on a stone referencing Imhotep in reverse order.

No expert here... so I defer to those who understand the writing.


Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32) - WinPT 1.2.0

iD8DBQFH06JIAS9dxxA237oRAjmvAJ9G6bt+uyE8tEN52eoL/7mH2+6KlwCeILf7 0TG5S9iWlrmAycxR7+mNVaI= =PWMH


Gnu invivo (talk) 08:45, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Well that was annoying... apparently we can't use GNUPG signed messages without wikipedia's browser-based editor messing them up? The ability to use GNUPG to encrypt and sign messages accurately so that the code can be accurately copied and pasted needs to be added to wikipedia.

This would permit encoded/signed or signed/encrypted contents for a page to be shared with less errors encoded and all changes (errors and corrections) could be preserved and verifiable by the author(s)/collaborator(s) so their work is passed on to others more reliably.

To whom do I report this "bug" (the obligatory GNUPG dashes and spacing gets altered with a wikipedia submission)?

I fail to understand how a string of tildes compares to a true GNUPG signed message. Certainly both could be used I suppose. However, I do respect the notion of preserving the ability of anonymous contributors to make changes. Being able to collaborate with trusted partners on parts of wikipedia by encrypting code to each other (or groups of collaborators) would permit a more reliable product that could also be contributed to by "untrusted"/anonymous readors and collaborators.

Respectfully yours,

GNUPG PUBLIC KEY ID: 1036DFBA NOTE: I do not correspond via the internet and e-mail in unencrypted form with anyone who does not have a public key. You may reply to me at my gmail account. Gnu invivo (talk) 09:13, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

  • The order is the same. Hieroglyphs are read so that you meet the characters face on. In the hieroglyphs produced by Wikipedia, the characters (most obviously the owl) face left, so the characters are to be read left to right. In the text the link leads to, the characters face right, indicating that they are to be read right to left. Right to left is most common in ancient inscriptions.

--Klausok (talk) 12:50, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Fringe theories[edit]

I'm sure the above is all very interesting to those who want to believe thee sorts of things, but Wikipedia has policies on only using reliable sources and not promoting fringe views. I'm afraid there's no way that content fits in this article. DreamGuy (talk) 14:53, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Note, I've deleted "all the above" as it was simply a fringe editor (see User talk:Drnhawkins pushing his pov as though this was a forum, which it is not. It's still in the history if anyone really wants to see it. Dougweller (talk) 07:56, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

You cannot find a more reliable source than the Bible. Read Genesis Chapters 37-50. --Drnhawkins (talk) 16:22, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

The Bible is a religious document, not a historical one. Sorry. There may be historical accounts in it, but we can not use it as a whole as a record of history. LadyofShalott 17:27, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Or alleged historical accounts anyway... DreamGuy (talk) 16:00, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Good point. LadyofShalott 16:28, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
I have to agree with the above. In academia, the reliability of the Bible, the Old Testament or Jewish Bible in particular, is highly disputed. Please see The Bible and history for a discussion of the subject. As such, citing the Bible without other independent reliable sources would be basically dealing with a fringe theory, as per WP:FT. We try not to give too much space to such theories in the main article of any subject. On that basis, including any content related to Joseph, whose historical existence independent of the Bible has to the best of my knowledge never been substantiated, in this article would be at best unlikely. This is not to say that independent articles on various books dealing with the subject could not be created if they met WP:NOTABILITY and WP:RS, but it would probably be unlikely that more than perhaps a link to such articles, were they to exist, would exist in any article of this type, as it would be giving too much weight to what is in the academic world not considered a particularly reliable source. John Carter (talk) 17:51, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
P.S. This is not to single out that document. The same would be said if you were trying to use the Qu'ran, Bhagatav-GitaBhagavad Gita, Tao, etc. LadyofShalott 17:30, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia reporting what reliable and verifiable sources say about a subject. On Wikipedia you can use the Bible, or rather a specific translation, as a source for what the Bible says. You can't use it as a source for historical claims (and, as I am sure you know, a lot of well qualified Christian academics, let alone non-Christian academics, would not agree that they are a reliabel historical source for anything like the time period you suggest, but that's another issue). Further to that, you need to read our policy on original research at WP:OR - what you have written above is original research and belongs neither in the article or indeed on this discussion page. Such edits are subject to removal and in fact I've left them there only out of courtesy to you. I'm not going to get into a discussion about it because that would be more original research, this time by me, and still wouldn't belong here. Ron Wyatt is not a reliable source by Wikipedia standards (and a number of Christian Creationists would say the same, which again I am sure you know). He could be used as a source in his own article for what he wrote, of course. You might be happier on Conservapedia which doesn't have the same standards as Wikipedia. And, as Lady Shallott wrote above while I was writing this edit, we aren't singling out any religion's sacred texts and treating them differently from others, the policies and guidelines are the same for all of them. Dougweller (talk) 17:34, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
If you are here to push what the Bible says or a particulr interpretation of what the Bible says (since so many people disagree on what it means) that you adhere to, then you are clearly violating Wikipedia's core principles of WP:NPOV, WP:RS and WP:NOT, among others. Any edits you make to any article to advance such a cause will be removed on sight by any number of editors. DreamGuy (talk) 16:00, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
The Bible is a very accurate source about what the Bible says. Regardless, the Bible does not mention Imhotep at all and your attempt to link him to Joseph is a textbook example of original research. Edward321 (talk) 14:19, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Film character[edit]

I added a link to a page about the film character Imhotep--it seems odd not to mention that the historical figure is the namesake of a major popular culture icon, kind of like not noting that Vlad Tepes is the inspiration for Count Dracula. Nareek (talk) 18:14, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Incorrect Reference[edit]

While looking up some of these references, I noticed that reference #10 does not exist as cited. A search on PubMed/Medline also revealed no such article by this author.

^ Mostafa Shehata, MD (2004), "The Father of Medicine: A Historical Reconsideration", J Med Ethics 12, p. 171-176 [176]. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nuprin (talkcontribs) 23:29, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Try Google Scholar. The full English name of the journal is Türkiye Klinikleri Journal of Medical Ethics, Law and History (ISSN: 1303-4332). Here is a link to the abstract (and the name in Turkish):

I have not seen the paper itself, but the abstract asserts, "The original home of medical science is Egypt and not Greece". (An unobjectionable statement — Imhotep and his colleagues flourished more than a millenium before the Greeks took up writing.) Someone with access to medical literature might want to vet this article to see if it adds anything useful to the discussion; if it does, amend the citation and restore it. (The abstract describes Shehata as an otolaryngolist in Egypt. Google links to some pieces he has written on the history of Arab medicine.) ''' '' Solo Owl '' ''' (talk) 20:45, 13 May 2012 (UTC)


The late Prof. W.B. Emery spent some 50 years looking for the tomb of Imhotep and thought that he was getting close after the discovery of a cache of some mummified animals dedicated to Imhotep.

I'm also very wary of the ages given to some historical individuals. It was always easier to count and record lunar months rather than solar years. After biblical records have gone through translations of say Aramaic, then Hebrew and Greek, the monthly record becomes, in error, fixed as years.

Taking Methusalah as an example, the biblical 999 (months) turned into years then becomes mid 80s at death. A fantastic age for such a disease ridden period but back within the usual range of human life span. Using this method Egyptian and even biblical characters seem to have normal human life spans. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:34, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Wouldn't it be easier just to say that ages, sizes, numbers of enemies vanquished, etc., tend to get exagerrated in the ancient stories of all cultures? ''' '' Solo Owl '' ''' (talk) 17:41, 13 May 2012 (UTC)


In the Legacy section, it says: "Imhotep was also identified with Thoth, the Egyptian god of writing, education, literacy and scribes through the Greco-Roman Period." I think this need clarifying and explaining as it really doesn't make sense. "Identified with Thoth" in what way and by who? It also needs sourcing to a reliable source, otherwise it really just looks like someone's original research. I'm going to remove the sentence for now. If someone restores it, can they please explain what it means and provide a cite? Thanks. (talk) 01:29, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Also, the quotes in that section need to be properly sourced to reliable and verifiable sources. Writing "According to the Encyclopedia Britannica" and "says Sir William Osler" is not sufficient for sourcing. You need to provide a full and complete citation so the information can be checked and verified by other editors as well as readers. (talk) 01:37, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Imhotep, oldest known bearer of the papyrus scroll.[edit]

Imhotep is the oldest known bearer of the papyrus scroll, suggesting that Imhotep was (very likely) the inventor of the papyrus scroll. If Imhotep himself was not the actual inventor of the papyrus scroll, he certainly was a notable personality in the invention process or contributed significantly to its improvement. Imhotep is the oldest known personality who handled the papyrus scroll. We do not know of any humans older than Imhotep who handled the papyrus scroll.

Descriptions of Imhotep by James Henry Breasted et. al :

"In priestly wisdom, in magic, in the formulation of wise proverbs; in medicine and architecture; this remarkable figure of Zoser's reign left so notable a reputation that his name was never forgotten. He was the patron spirit of the later scribes, to whom they regularly poured out a libation from the water-jug of their writing outfit before beginning their work." '

'Imhotep extracted medicine from plants.'

'Imhotep was portrayed as a priest with a shaven head, seated and holding a papyrus roll. Occasionally he was shown clothed in the archaic costume of a priest.'

'Of the details of his life, very little has survived though numerous statues and statuettes of him have been found. Some show him as an ordinary man who is dressed in plain attire. Others show him as a sage who is seated on a chair with a roll of papyrus on his knees or under his arm. Later, his statuettes show him with a god like beard, standing, and carrying the ankh and a scepter.'

'He is represented seated with a papyrus scroll across his knees, wearing a skullcap and a long linen kilt. We can interpret the papyrus as suggesting the sources of knowledge kept by scribes in the "House of Life". The headgear identifies Imhotep with Ptah, and his priestly linen garment symbolizes his religious purity.' — Preceding unsigned comment added by Okoloko (talkcontribs) 23:41, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

This is incorrect. The oldest known papyrus scroll dates to 3000 BC, the first dynasty. And that's just the first papyrus roll we know about. The invention of papyrus and the papyrus scrolls likely dates back to a much earlier time (likely pre-dynastic). There is an uninscribed roll found in a tomb which dates to the reign of a king from the First dynasty of Egypt. So Imhotep had nothing to do with the invention of papyrus, scrolls, etc. And I don't see anything in what you mention above that indicates anyone else thinks Imhotep invented papyrus. A description mentioning Imhotep was depicted with a scroll does not mean much. And it should be noted that many of the depictions of Imhotep date to a period much later than the reign of Djoser.
See for instance The evolution of the book by Frederick G. Kilgour, Oxford University Press, 1998, p 28-29 link --AB (talk) 01:02, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

All pronunciations of Himotep[edit]

Tell me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:51, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Nobody really knows exactly how to pronounce ancient languages. Sorry about that. (It bothers me, too.) See my comment above. ''' '' Solo Owl '' ''' (talk) 20:48, 13 May 2012 (UTC)