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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An expert guide through the maze of Egyptian myth
There is no Egyptian Hesiod or Ovid. Still less is there anything from ancient Egypt that is like the Bible or the Koran. Instead, we have certain core myths that recur in fragmentary forms (mythemes) and in countless variations, down through the centuries. Enacting these myths, we have deities who constantly get killed and resurrected, who take on various animal guises...
Published on 17 Nov 2008 by Peter Reeve

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3.0 out of 5 stars book for uni
was told to get this ifor university by my lecturers, is a very good book for student use, great book in its area,
Published 19 months ago by isabel granville


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An expert guide through the maze of Egyptian myth, 17 Nov 2008
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Peter Reeve (Thousand Oaks, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Egyptian Myth: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
There is no Egyptian Hesiod or Ovid. Still less is there anything from ancient Egypt that is like the Bible or the Koran. Instead, we have certain core myths that recur in fragmentary forms (mythemes) and in countless variations, down through the centuries. Enacting these myths, we have deities who constantly get killed and resurrected, who take on various animal guises and, most confusingly, often merge with one another to form composite deities.

Making sense of this disparate and perplexing data, so different in flavour from the more familiar Graeco-Roman or Norse myths, is a huge task. Geraldine Pinch succeeds splendidly, especially given the very restricted space she has here.

Pinch has a very readable style, free from scholarly pomposity, but without any dumbing-down. She clearly knows and loves her subject, and recognizes the difficulties of getting to grips with it. This is an enjoyable and authoritative introduction to the mythology that helped sustain Earth's first great civilization for thousands of years.
[PeterReeve]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice try - and couldn't be better, but still..., 14 May 2007
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This review is from: Egyptian Myth: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Egyption Myth is a complex subject: Not only are the written sources fragmentary and contradictive, but the mindset of ancient Egyptians is quite alien to ours. Many aspects of Egyptian culture are yet not fully understood, and the mythology is quite confusing to outsiders.

And fascinating.

Geraldine Pinch's book is a brave attempt to give an overview of Egyptian myth, its role, and its cultural background. The most central myth of Egypt is Seth's murder of his brother Osiris. The latter's resurrection by his sister Isis, his succession by Horus (the younger), and his becoming the ruler of the underworld are referred to in burial as well as fertility rituals, on temple walls as well as in "magical" papyri. Pinch discusses the Osiris myth and its variations in detail, and shows how other myths are related to this central tale. - Other myths Pinch sketches deal with creation, the Egyptian nation as such, death, language and writing.

My problem with the book is that it is frustrating: Every answer the author gives, and she does so in a very competent and well-written way, left me more puzzled, more confused.
I had to realise that I do not understand ancient Egyptians at all: Why didn't all these contradictions bother them - e. g., there are half a dozen different gods credited as being creators of the world? Why did they put such a lot of emphasis on funeral rites, burial chambers and rituals? Some ideas have parallels in the bible, but come in quite different contexts - are there connections, and how come?

"Egyptian Myth" leaves one puzzled, with some very general ideas about Egyptian culture and myths, but with more questions than answers. For anyone who really wants to understand the Egyptian mindset (as far as such things exist), the books of Jan Assmann come very handy.

One should not expect to understand much after reading Pinch's book, except for two things: Ancient Egypt is far more alien than it appears at first glance, and its myths are a fascinating subject. For anyone who is not yet enthralled by Egyptology, this very short introduction might be a good starting point.

But the subject is far too complex that one could expect more than some scratchings on the surface - which lead to a rather frustrating reading experience in my case.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars up to the series' standard, 22 Jun 2014
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gerryg - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Egyptian Myth: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
I use these books as an intense primer when I need to get up to speed.

Some topics seem less well presented than others but this is one of the better ones. A lucid and well organised trot through of Egyptian mythology with concise context setting and good subject organisation.
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3.0 out of 5 stars book for uni, 3 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Egyptian Myth: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
was told to get this ifor university by my lecturers, is a very good book for student use, great book in its area,
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Egyptian Myth: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Egyptian Myth: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Geraldine Pinch (Paperback - 22 April 2004)
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