Before dealing with the special varieties of the Egyptians' belief in gods, it is best to try to avoid a misunderstanding of their whole conception of the supernatural. The term god has come to tacitly imply to our minds such a highly specialised group of attributes, that we can hardly throw our ideas back into the more remote conceptions to which we also attach the same name. It is unfortunate that every other word for supernatural intelligences has become debased, so that we cannot well speak of demons, devils, ghosts, or fairies without implying a noxious or a trifling meaning, quite unsuited to the ancient deities that were so beneficent and powerful. If then we use the word god for such conceptions, it must always be with the reservation that the word has now a very different meaning from what it had to ancient minds. To the Egyptian the gods might be mortal; even Ra, the sun-god, is said to have grown old and feeble, Osiris was slain, and Orion, the great hunter of the heavens, killed and ate the gods. The mortality of gods has been dwelt on by Dr. Frazer (Golden Bough), and the many instances of tombs of gods, and of the slaying of the deified man who was worshipped, all show that immortality was not a divine attribute. Nor was there any doubt that they might suffer while alive; one myth tells how Ra, as he walked on earth, was bitten by a magic serpent and suffered torments. The gods were also supposed to share in a life like that of man, not only in Egypt but in most ancient lands. Offerings of food and drink were constantly supplied to them, in Egypt laid upon the altars, in other lands burnt for a sweet savour. At Thebes the divine wife of the god, or high priestess, was the head of the harem of concubines of the god; and similarly in Babylonia the chamber of the god with the golden couch could only be visited by the priestess who slept there for oracular responses. The Egyptian gods could not be cognisant of what passed on earth without being informed, nor could they reveal their will at a distant place except by sending a messenger; they were as limited as the Greek gods who required the aid of Iris to communicate one with another or with mankind. The gods, therefore, have no divine superiority to man in conditions or limitations; they can only be described as pre-existent, acting intelligences, with scarcely greater powers than man might hope to gain by magic or witchcraft of his own. This conception explains how easily the divine merged into the human in Greek theology, and how frequently divine ancestors occurred in family histories.
Author: Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie
Publisher: Library of Alexandria
Glaube, Macht, Mythologie
Author: Richard H. Wilkinson
A comprehensive and up-to-date introduction to over three thousand years of ancient Egyptian civilization.
Author: Douglas J. Brewer,Emily Teeter
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
In their wide-ranging interpretation of the religion of ancient Egypt, Françoise Dunand and Christiane Zivie-Coche explore how, over a period of roughly 3500 years, the Egyptians conceptualized their relations with the gods. Drawing on the insights of anthropology, the authors discuss such topics as the identities, images, and functions of the gods; rituals and liturgies; personal forms of piety expressing humanity's need to establish a direct relation with the divine; and the afterlife, a central feature of Egyptian religion. That religion, the authors assert, was characterized by the remarkable continuity of its ritual practices and the ideas of which they were an expression.Throughout, Dunand and Zivie-Coche take advantage of the most recent archaeological discoveries and scholarship. Gods and Men in Egypt is unique in its coverage of Egyptian religious expression in the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. Written with nonspecialist readers in mind, it is largely concerned with the continuation of Egypt's traditional religion in these periods, but it also includes fascinating accounts of Judaism in Egypt and the appearance and spread of Christianity there.
3000 BCE to 395 CE
Author: Françoise Dunand,Christiane Zivie-Coche
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Exploring Religion in Ancient Egypt offers a stimulatingoverview of the study of ancient Egyptian religion by examiningresearch drawn from beyond the customary boundaries of Egyptologyand shedding new light on entrenched assumptions. Discusses the evolution of religion in ancient Egypt – abelief system that endured for 3,000 years Dispels several modern preconceptions about ancient Egyptianreligious practices Reveals how people in ancient Egypt struggled to securewell-being in the present life and the afterlife
Author: Stephen Quirke
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Category: Literary Criticism
We now live in the time of the Gaian hierophant. This is the one who reveals and shows us how to relate to the sacred aspects of Gaia, our planet. Who is this hierophant? Each of us, when we join the campaign with Gaia against the desecration of our natural environment. But first we have to discover what the Earth really is. The Earth's thousands of sacred sites hold a secret: they are functional parts of the planet's geomantic body, consciousness nodes in the Earth's subtle body. Each veils a Light temple, each once known widely and remembered in myth, and Welcome to Your Designer Planet! documents 165 different kinds. The Earth is not an accident of the cosmos, but was designed specifically for humans as an extended Mystery temple primed to support and enhance our greater awareness. And the designers intended that humans help maintain it. Want to help the ecosystem and modulate global warming and climate change? Plug yourself into the Earth's Light grid through your nearest sacred site and start helping. Earth Mysteries researcher Richard Leviton presents a working model of the Earth's geomantic reality based on 24 years of research. The world's myths are the doorway into this fantastic domain of the Earth's visionary geography, showing us where to go and what to do and even what kinds of spiritual beings to expect to see. The future of the Earth is in our hands. Here are some pages from its design manual showing us how to fine-tune our wonderful host planet.
A Brief Account of the Cosmogony on Earth
Author: Richard Leviton
Category: Body, Mind & Spirit
Millennialists through the ages have looked forward to the apocalyptic moment that will radically transform society into heaven on earth. They have delivered withering critiques of their own civilizations and promised both the impending annihilation of the forces of evil and the advent of a perfect society. And all their promises have invariably failed. We tend, therefore, to dismiss these prophets of doom and salvation as crackpots and madmen, and not surprisingly historians of our secular era have tended to underestimate their impact on our modern world. Now, Richard Landes offers a lucid and ground-breaking analysis of this widely misunderstood phenomenon. This long-awaited study shows that many events typically regarded as secular--including the French Revolution, Marxism, Bolshevism, Nazism--not only contain key millennialist elements, but follow the apocalyptic curve of enthusiastic launch, disappointment and (often catastrophic) re-entry into "normal time." Indeed, as Landes examines the explicit millennialism behind such recent events as the emergence of Global Jihad since 1979, he challenges the common notion that modern history is largely driven by secular interests. By focusing on ten widely different case studies, none of which come from Judaism or Christianity, he shows that millennialism is not only a cultural universal, but also an extremely adaptive social phenomenon that persists across the modern and post-modern divides. At the same time, he also offers valuable insight into the social and psychological factors that drive such beliefs. Ranging from ancient Egypt to modern-day UFO cults and global Jihad, Heaven on Earth both delivers an eye-opening revisionist argument for the significance of millennialism throughout history and alerts the reader to the alarming spread of these ideologies in our world today.
The Varieties of the Millennial Experience
Author: Richard Landes
Publisher: Oxford University Press
This comparative religion book contains a startling perspective of the extraordinary history of the Egyptian religion and its profound influence upon the later Christian faith. The text demonstrates that the popular god Horus and Jesus possessed many characteristics and attributes in common.
The Horus-Jesus Connection
Author: D. M. Murdock,Acharya S
Publisher: Stellar House Publishing
Completely revised and updated to reflect the latest developments in the field, this second edition of Barry J. Kemp's popular text presents a compelling reassessment of what gave ancient Egypt its distinctive and enduring characteristics. Ranging across Ancient Egyptian material culture, social and economic experiences, and the mindset of its people, the book also includes two new chapters exploring the last ten centuries of Ancient Egyptian civilization and who, in ethnic terms, the ancients were. Fully illustrated, the book draws on both ancient written materials and decades of excavation evidence, transforming our understanding of this remarkable civilization. Broad ranging yet impressively detailed, Kemp’s work is an indispensable text for all students of Ancient Egypt.
Anatomy of a Civilisation
Author: Barry J. Kemp
On the Primaeval Ocean provides an edited text of a series of ancient Egyptian fragments written in Demotic script in the first half of the 2nd century AD, on the subject of the origins and nature of the cosmos. It focuses on fragments in the Carsten Niebuhr Institute at the University of Copenhagen and presents each fragment in the original, with translation, textual notes and commentary. The fragments are placed in order and discussed in terms of the wider context of the creation of the universe and the issue of life and death.
Author: Mark Smith
Publisher: Museum Tusculanum Press
The golden age of Egyptian solar hymns - the three centuries from c. 1500 to 1200 BC which have provided many hundreds of examples of them - is a unique phenomenon. No other period of Egyptian history, indeed no other culture, has produced such an abundance of poetry in praise of the sun god. There are among them an astonishing abundance of hymns that have an individual character and represent the textual expression of the spiritual-religious movement. The spiritual movement that is embedded in and expressed by them is the struggle to articulate a concept of the unity of the divine - the One God. The uniqueness or oneness of god is the central theological problem of the New Kingdom. The Amarna period is striking proof of the historical explosiveness of this problem. It is less well known that the problem was by no means solved with the failure of Amarna religion. There was a continuing attempt to articulate concepts of the unity of god and to harness this conception with the ultimately indispensable reality of polytheism in Egyptian religion during these centuries. The crisis of polytheism is primarily concerned with the conception of god, with questions of unity and plurality that are pushed - long before the rise of monotheistic religions in the proper sense - to the extremes of radical and revolutionary monotheism. The problem confronts us in the texts themselves; it is explicit, central and cannot be ignored. It is the dominant theme of the theological discourse which establishes the contours of Egyptian cosmology at the same time as determining the nature of the divine. The confusion in which Egyptian theology usually appears in the texts produces a degree of complexity that precludes comprehensive understanding of it. In this volume - a revised and expanded version of the original German text - solar religion and the sun hymns of the New Kingdom are studied in the greatest possible detail, with five different traditions distinguished and analysed. As the work demonstrates, the sun hymns of the tomb inscriptions, which reveal the theological process of solar religion in all its dimensions, provide a means of accessperhaps unique and certainly the first of its kind - to understanding a highly significant period and aspect of Egyptian religion.
Re, Amun and the Crisis of Polytheism
Author: Jan Assmann
Maat is the moral ideal of ancient Egypt whose texts contain information on Egypt's moral standards, its concepts of right from wrong, codes of behaviour and obligations. Written by a teacher of the tradition of Maat, this study is the `first philosophical book that is based on a philologically and historically critical treatment of first-hand Egyptian material'. Focusing on the Maatian ideal rather than moral practices, Karenga discusses what Maat is and its place within the genre of philosophical ethics and morality, asking what it can contribute to modern African culture and values. Extracts are transcribed and translated into English.
A Study in Classical African Ethics
Author: Maulana Karenga
Publisher: Psychology Press
Superb, in-depth survey explores animism, totemism, fetishism, creation myths, Egyptian priesthood, numerous deities, alchemy, Egyptian art and magic, other fascinating topics. Includes over 50 photographs and illustrations.
Author: Lewis Spence
Publisher: Courier Corporation
Category: Social Science
This exploration of cultural resilience examines the complex fate of classical Egyptian religion during the centuries from the period when Christianity first made its appearance in Egypt to when it became the region's dominant religion (roughly 100 to 600 C.E. Taking into account the full range of witnesses to continuing native piety--from papyri and saints' lives to archaeology and terracotta figurines--and drawing on anthropological studies of folk religion, David Frankfurter argues that the religion of Pharonic Egypt did not die out as early as has been supposed but was instead relegated from political centers to village and home, where it continued a vigorous existence for centuries. In analyzing the fate of the Egyptian oracle and of the priesthoods, the function of magical texts, and the dynamics of domestic cults, Frankfurter describes how an ancient culture maintained itself while also being transformed through influences such as Hellenism, Roman government, and Christian dominance. Recognizing the special characteristics of Egypt, which differentiated it from the other Mediterranean cultures that were undergoing simultaneous social and political changes, he departs from the traditional "decline of paganism/triumph of Christianity" model most often used to describe the Roman period. By revealing late Egyptian religion in its Egyptian historical context, he moves us away from scenarios of Christian triumph and shows us how long and how energetically pagan worship survived.
Assimilation and Resistance
Author: David Frankfurter
Publisher: Princeton University Press