3. INTRODUCTION TO ANCIENT EGYPTIAN RELIGION
Kinds of evidence:
Funerary (tombs, burials)
Temple (sites of worship, cult)
Settlement (where people lived)
Painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.Egyptian conventions of representation:
-Human figures as composites of views
-Canon of proportions
-Size relates to status
-art as diagram: limited use of perspective
Textual evidence: written words. connected text, compositions
Egyptian writing: hieroglyphs and cursive forms
-Signs represent sounds and/or ideas
-Vowels not written
-Interaction of text and image
Semitic: Akkadian, Hebrew, Arabic, etc.
African: Bedja, Berber, Bantu, etc.
-Demotic Egyptian (cursive)
Greek and Roman sources:
-Manetho (history divided into dynasties)
-Herodotus (history and religion)
Class thoughts on religion:
What is religion?
From 2013 class:
-Worship of something sacred
-Faith in a higher power
-Ways to explain things
-Organized structure of belief
-Association of higher power to something that you can relate to
-Routine and comfort
From 2012 class:
-Way of explaining the world
-Way of life
-Prayers and worship of higher power
-Form of stratification
Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed.
Recognition on the part of a person of some higher unseen power as having control of his/her destiny, and as being entitled to obedience, reverence and worship; the general mental and moral attitude resulting from this belief, with reference to its effect on the individual or community; personal or general acceptance of this feeling as a standard of spiritual and practical life.
No ancient Egyptian word for it
Characteristics of religion in ancient Egypt
-Divine beings/gods, deities, etc.
|Actions||Offerings, prayers, rituals||Offerings, prayers, rituals||Offerings, prayers, rituals|
Maintenance of "order" (ma'at)
(more than "good" vs. "evil")
Seth as god of disorder
Hieroglyph for "netjer"
Netjer: god, a god, the god
Netjerew: gods, some gods, the gods
Polytheism: multiple gods
Monotheism: single god
No vowels in writing
Help from Greek gives us Sokar
But Greek sometimes seems different
Ammon (I-m-n) = Amon, Amun, Amen, etc.
Isis, Re, etc.
Basic categories of gods:
Natural forces (sun, Nile, etc.)
Abstract concepts (like "order")
Local, national, kingship
Fusion of gods: Amun + Re = Amun-Re
"Fission" of gods into forms or aspects:
Horus > Specialized: Harpocrates ("Horus the Child")
Mutual coexistence of gods and traditions