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Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt [Paperback]

Erik Hornung , John Baines , Erik M. Hornung
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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First Sentence
In classical antiquity the seemingly abstruse deities of Egypt already aroused reactions of antipathy and scornful rejection. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4.0 out of 5 stars One of the many books on the subject Feb. 2 2004
I bought this book after reading Freud's "Moses and Monotheism", where it is attached to the pharaoh Akkenaton the origin of a monotheist cult and religion to the god Athon( or Athun), later to be dismissed and abandomned by his son Tutankamom who pulled back to polytheism. The importance of the debate is big, nothing less than the influence this type of cult had on the formation of the Jewish religion (Jews were held captives in Egypt at Akenaton's time) and later on Christianism and Catholicism.
"The Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt - The One and the Many" was written in German in the 1970's and translated into English in the 80's. Dates are of the utmost importance here due to the archeological material available to the researcher, which has in his hands much more pertinent information than a writer 50 years ago. Both writer and translator are eminent figures of modern Egyptology who has in German and in France many of its most important researchers. The task they face is gigantic, nothing less than trying to interpret the meaning of abstract religious concepts, the concept of God being the foremost.
Religion is one of the most important aspects of a Culture, if not the most important aspect, and has to be interpreted by its own sticks and standards and not by the stick and measures of any other Culture, and this is the essential point which shows the true hardship of managing this subject and then avoiding the acceptance of standars of Western theology. Thus, many questions appear which ask for the most excruciating analisys from the part of the author : what was the meaning of God for the Ancient Egyptian? Is the word God equivalent to the (consonantal) word for god in the language of old Egypt, ntr?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for the Study of Egyptian Religion Aug. 8 2003
By Shepen
This book is at the top of many lists for those wishing to study ancinet Egyptian religion in-depth. Upon reading it, I can see why! This book explores what exactly the ancient Egyptians thought god(s) were, how the gods reacted to humans, and how humans reacted to the gods. Given the unique and often confusing nature of the concept "ntr" or god, this book is very useful indeed.
It is extermely detailed, (though admittedly dry,) and leaves the reader with a good idea of what the Egyptian Gods were like and how they developed throughout the millenia. The beginning also nicely addresses the erroneous notion that the Egyptians were really monotheists from the start, and that only the ignorant common people held polythistic beliefs; a Victorian bias that taints the studies of many ancient cultures. Horning clearly has a great deal of respect for the ancient Egyptian religion, and as a Kemetic pagan, I really appreciate that this book exists in English.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Read June 26 2002
"Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt" is an English translation of a German publication from 1970. While its definately in the 'academic' category with some pages weighing in longer on footnotes than on text, its an interesting read throught. The section on Akhenaton in the chapter entitled "Classification and Articulation of the Pantheon" is my favorite.
Highly recommeded.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Book July 22 2000
By A Customer
I thought the chapters on the characteristics and manifestations of the gods were fascinating, and I also enjoyed the chapter about the names of the gods. Many people love this book, but I found the chapter on the use of the word ntr to be somewhat dry. The information in this chapter was very informative, but the subject matter just did not hold my interest; perhaps this shows more where my interest lay, rather than the skill of the author. However those interested in this aspect of Egyptian religion, will probably get a lot out of this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent book June 15 2000
In this book, the author introduces the basic concepts of the gods. He first defines the terminology for the word 'god' and then explains the names of the Ancient Egyptian gods as well as their characteristics. He provides an excellent historical overview of the gods. A useful glossary of gods is included, along with a great bibliography for further reading. It is a recommended necessary reading for those studying Ancient Egyptian religion.
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