Sacred Sexuality in Ancient Egypt: The Erotic Secrets of the Forbidden Papyrus

Overview

• The first book to fully explore the sexual philosophy and practices of the ancient Egyptians

• Lavishly illustrated  with erotic scenes from papyri that have long been hidden from the public

• Clarifies the connection of sacred sexuality to Egyptian cosmic symbolism

Until recently the forbidden papyri, whose explicit illustrations of Egyptian sexual practices were judged too shocking, were off limits to all but a few scholars. In this book, the first to fully explore Egyptian sexual philosophy and ...

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Overview

• The first book to fully explore the sexual philosophy and practices of the ancient Egyptians

• Lavishly illustrated  with erotic scenes from papyri that have long been hidden from the public

• Clarifies the connection of sacred sexuality to Egyptian cosmic symbolism

Until recently the forbidden papyri, whose explicit illustrations of Egyptian sexual practices were judged too shocking, were off limits to all but a few scholars. In this book, the first to fully explore Egyptian sexual philosophy and practices, Egyptologist Ruth Schumann-Antelme provides us a new view of the provocative sexual life of the ancient Egyptians.

Richly illustrated throughout, Sacred Sexuality in Ancient Egypt explains the symbolism of the erotic images found on the inner walls of the temples and tombs as well as those carved into pieces of limestone and sketched on papyri. The authors cover in detail the astonishing erotic scenes illustrating the Turin Papyrus, which have long been kept from public view. These papyri reveal in great detail Egyptian attitudes about love, religion, and even medicine, as well as specific sexual practices. Sacred Sexuality in Ancient Egypt reveals the intimate details of a society in which sexuality was the dynamic principle of the divine world, and the cosmic symbolism of religion imbued every level of Egyptian society with sexual significance. 

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Editorial Reviews

John Anthony West
"Utilizing material sequestered away in museum and university archives and rarely seen, evidently because of its explicit sexuality, Ruth Schumann Antelme reveals an aspect of Egypt that many have suspected but no one to date has demonstrated: an intense and joyous eroticism that plays out in the human sphere but is intimately tied to a profound metaphysical and cosmological Egyptian understanding—sex as a sacrament."
The Midwest Book Review
". . . the first book to explore the sexual philosophy and practices of the ancient Egyptians. A truly intriguing study."
Cristina Rizen
“. . . clearly and in great detail shows a part of the human side of ancient Egyptian civilization; that sexual intercourse was something that was seen as physically gratifying, spiritually gratifying and necessary not only for species survival, but also for spiritual and cosmic well-being.”
author of The Traveler's Key to Ancient Egypt John Anthony West
"Utilizing material sequestered away in museum and university archives and rarely seen, evidently because of its explicit sexuality, Ruth Schumann Antelme reveals an aspect of Egypt that many have suspected but no one to date has demonstrated: an intense and joyous eroticism that plays out in the human sphere but is intimately tied to a profound metaphysical and cosmological Egyptian understanding—sex as a sacrament."
From the Publisher
“. . . clearly and in great detail shows a part of the human side of ancient Egyptian civilization; that sexual intercourse was something that was seen as physically gratifying, spiritually gratifying and necessary not only for species survival, but also for spiritual and cosmic well-being.”

". . . the first book to explore the sexual philosophy and practices of the ancient Egyptians. A truly intriguing study."

"Utilizing material sequestered away in museum and university archives and rarely seen, evidently because of its explicit sexuality, Ruth Schumann Antelme reveals an aspect of Egypt that many have suspected but no one to date has demonstrated: an intense and joyous eroticism that plays out in the human sphere but is intimately tied to a profound metaphysical and cosmological Egyptian understanding—sex as a sacrament."

Midwest Book Review
. . . the first book to explore the sexual philosophy and practices of the ancient Egyptians. A truly intriguing study.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892818631
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Publication date: 8/1/2001
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 1,350,617
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ruth Schumann Antelme is an Egyptologist, an emeritus researcher of the Centre Nationale de la Researche Scientifique in France, and a former professor at the Ecole du Louvre. She is the author of Becoming Osiris and a resident of Paris. Stephane Rossini illustrated Becoming Osiris and Reading and Writing Hieroglyphics. He lives in Paris.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Chapter One: Sexuality, Engine of the Divine World
The Heliopolitan and Hermopolitan Creation Myths
The Cosmic Children of the Demiurge
The Time Space Dimension: The Cursed Gods
The Osirian Cycle
The Memphis Triad
The Eye of Ra: The Myth of the Distant One
Amun the Theban
Hathor

Chapter Two: The Sexuality of the Human World
The Socio-Legal Framework
Sexuality and Ritual Purity
The Earthly Harem of the Demiurge
Prostitution

Chapter Three: Love, Eroticism, and Sexuality in Literature
Sarcasm, Insults, and Blasphemy
The Moral Literature
Love Poetry and Erotic Literature

Chapter Four: The Code of Love
The Code of Love in Figurative Art
Components of the Code of Love

Chapter Five: Medicine and Sexuality
The Primary Sources
Gynecology and Obstetrics
Venereal Diseases
Sexual Mutilations

Chapter Six: Uncommon Sexual Practices
Male and Female Homosexuality
Other Practices

Chapter Seven: The Erotic Papyrus of Turin

Conclusion

Appendix One:  A Simplified Chronology

Appendix Two: Egyptian Deities

Appendix Three: Egyptian Place-Names

Appendix Four: Egyptian Hieroglyphics

Notes
Glossary
Bibliography

Index

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