- Paperback: 232 pages
- Publisher: Cornell University Press; Reprint edition (20 Jun. 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0801497868
- ISBN-13: 978-0801497865
- Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 1.7 x 23.5 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 977,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Religion in Ancient Egypt: Gods, Myths, and Personal Practice : Symposium on "Ancient Egyptian Religion" : Papers Paperback – 20 Jun 1991
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From the Back Cover
Meeting the need for an up-to-date English-language survey, this informative and accessible book will be welcomed by Egyptologists and their students, as well as by other readers interested in learning more about the culture and religion of ancient Egypt.
"This is a very informative book recommended for all students of Egyptology." Francesca Jourdan"
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Chapter 1 Divinity and Deities in Ancient Egypt was beautifully written and therefore very easy to get through.
Chapter 2 Ancient Egyptian Cosmogonies and Cosmology (my personal favorite) was a little more difficult to get through but definitely worth the effort. The author was trying to present (the rise of) each cosmogonical myth in context to what was going on both socially and politically around its city of origin, as well as Egypt as a whole, at the time.
Chapter 3 Society, Morality, and Religious Practice was the hardest to get through mainly because it was written in a way that was, at times, hard to understand. Some of the sentences didn't make sense and there were whole paragraphs that did not seem to belong with the rest of the text. It seemed as though everything that the author was trying to convey could have been done with about half the amount of text. Having said that, I did find the information presented extremely interesting and something I hadn't considered before (its a shame I kept nodding off). It was a nice break from what I normally read and, not having much to compare it to, would certainly recommend it to others.
There was too much overlap between Baines' and Lesko's sections, and Lesko's chapter seemed to be aimed at a more specialized audience than were the other chapters. I felt that Baines dwelled too much on political history and took the focus off the topic at hand. His article would have benefitted from further subdivision; as it was, the overly long sections lacked clear direction. Baines handles concepts of divinity quite well, but I think he could have provided a better overview of the Egyptian pantheon. On the whole I would give his article a tentative 4 stars.
Lesko's rather short chapter also placed too much focus on political history, and this was doubly frustrating since he didn't say anything different from Baines. His discussion of myths seemed to lack organization and was befuddling for the newcomer to the field. The chapter mostly consists of lengthy and inadequately explained or connected quotations from Egyptian texts. These texts are interesting sounding but cryptic, and Lesko does not provide enough of an overview for one to understand either what they are saying or why he is quoting them. His article has two chief sections: one on cosmogonies, which is very long and opaque, and a much shorter and somewhat clearer section on cosmology. Overall, this article deserves a tentative 3 stars from a newcomer; someone with more specialized knowledge might find it more useful, but I am not sure.
Silverman's chapter was by far the most accessible and informative. Frequent divisions in the text underscored its points while providing strong organization and direction. Silverman's explanations started from basic concepts and worked up to address difficulties in modern methods of study in his field. His chapter came across as an interesting and informative social history of Egypt with particular emphasis on the origins of its structure and morality, both of which derive from religion. This article was engaging and clear, and earns an enthusiastic 5 stars from me.
On the whole, then, some parts of this book were more readable and useful than others. However, it seems to be the most scholarly and trustworthy introduction to the topic. I would not recommend it as pleasure reading, but if you need to know something about the subject it is a good resource.