Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods / Edition 1

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This is the first English translation of a highly appealing volume originally published in French in 1993. Informed by a sense of wonderment at divine doings, it treats the ancient Egyptian gods as if they were an ethnic group that captured the fancy of ethnologists or sociologists.The book begins with a discussion of the gods' community as a society unto itself. The authors describe the structures of the society of the gods and some of the conflicts that frequently upset it, with individual gods acting to protect their own positions in an established hierarchy and struggling to gain power over their fellows. The nature of their immortal but not invulnerable bodies, their pleasures, and their needs are considered. What did they eat, the authors ask, and did they feel pain? The second part of the book cites familiar traditions and little-known texts to explain the relationship of the gods to the pharaoh, who was believed to represent them on earth. By performing appropriate rites, the pharaoh maintained a delicate equilibrium, balancing the sky home of the sun god, the underworld of Osiris and the dead, and the earth itself. While each world was autonomous and had its own mythological context, the separate spheres were also interdependent, requiring the sun's daily course and the pharaoh's ritual actions to ensure the cohesion of the universe.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The Egyptian religion was grounded in a thought system so totally foreign to the Western mind that it presents an almost unbridgeable conceptual gap. The MeeksesDimitri Universit de Provence and Christine Sorbonneattempt in this translation of their La vie quotidienne des dieux egyptiens Hachette, 1993 to enable us to enter this strange world by observing the daily life of the gods and appreciating the inner logic of their activities. This is a difficult task because the authors must work from scattered and indirect bits and pieces of evidence with very few patches of satisfying detail. While the work's organization is sound, it also makes an abstract, often dry presentation that is foreign to the Egyptian mind, an inadvertent confirmation of the Meekses' exposition of the conceptual gap. They do not try to conceal the conjectural nature of much of their reconstruction, but perhaps it ought to be emphasized more heavily for the unwary neophyte. Nevertheless, this book does a good job of synthesizing, reconstructing, and explaining a very esoteric subject.Eugene O. Bowser, Univ. of Northern Colorado, Greeley
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801482489
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1996
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.01 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Table of Contents

Pt. I The Gods among Themselves
1 Origins, Destinies, History 13
2 Hierarchies, Prerogatives, Groups 33
3 Divine Bodies 53
4 Spaces and Places 81
5 Intelligence and Knowledge 94
Pt. II Mediating between the Gods and Humankind
6 The Machine of the Universe and the Universal God 111
7 The Gods on Earth 120
8 The Gods of the Hereafter, the Gods in the Hereafter 141
9 From the Dead to the Newborn God 164
10 The Machine of the Universe Tottering on the Brink 187
Glossary of Major Gods
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