Ancient Egyptian Demonology. Studies on the Boundaries between the Demonic and the Divine in Egyptian Magic

Ancient Egyptian Demonology. Studies on the Boundaries between the Demonic and the Divine in Egyptian Magic

by P Kousoulis (Editor)


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In the Egyptian context, what we term magic and demon, drawing on our own cultural heritage, are not seen as negative aspects of cultural practice and conceptualisation. Similarly, the Egyptian equivalents do not carry the pejorative connotations borne by the modern terms and their Greek antecedents; magic and demons can be forces for good as well as evil. Indeed, the practice of magic and the conceptualisation of personified demonic agents are central to the Egyptian understanding of the workings of the world from the very continuation of the cosmos itself down to the vicissitudes of existence faced by individuals. In particular, the broader practice of magic and articulation of the involvement of demonic agency form one of the crucial links in Ancient Egypt between individual existence on the human level and the level of nature or the cosmos, the realm of the gods. Unlike, though, the explicit recognition of the term demon in the ancient Greek language and religion, as the intermediary between god and mortals, the majority of the demonic names in the Egyptian literature do not possess an apparent ontological essence, or a clearly defined denotation. Their characteristics and role depended momentously on the verbal and performative ritual environment they were part of. The relation between the name of a demon and its cosmic-natural personification is not contradictory as it may seem, but it is closely interwoven in a well established ritual framework of words and actions. This multi-authored volume of 10 essays comprises an up-to-date authorized account of many aspects of ancient Egyptian demonology, including the multiple persona of the demonic or name vs. identity in the Egyptian formation of the demonic, nightmares and underworld demons, dream rituals and magic, categories of demonic entities and the vague distinction between the divine and the demonic in Egyptian cosmology and ritual, the theological and demonic aspects of Egyptian magic, and demons as reflections of human society. Contributors include Paul John Frandsen, Hedvig Gyory, Joachim Friedrich Quack, Yvan Koenig, Panagiotis Kousoulis, Alan Lloyd, Robert Ritner, Alessandro Roccati, Kasia Szpakowska and Penelope Wilson.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789042920408
Publisher: Peeters Publishing
Publication date: 11/11/2011
Series: Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta Series , #175
Pages: 198
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents


The Demonic Lore of Ancient Egypt: Questions on Definition P. Kousoulis ix

Opening Greeting to the Demonology Symposium on Rhodes Y. Koenig xxiii

Part I Demons and Personification

An eternal curse upon the reader of these lines (with apologies to M. Puig) R.K. Ritner 3

Faeces of the creator or the temptations of the dead P.J. Frandsen 25

Demons in the dark: nightmares and other nocturnal enemies in ancient Egypt K. Szpakowska 63

Masking and multiple personas P. Wilson 77

Demons as reflection of human society A. Roccati 89

Part II Magic and the Cosmicization of the World

Egyptian magic in Greek literature A.B. Lloyd 99

Between order and disorder: a case of sacred philology Y. Koenig 121

Remarks on Egyptian rituals of dream-sending J.F. Quack 129

Some aspects of magic in ancient Egyptian medicine H. Györy 151

Bibliography 167

Index 193

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