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the invisible self-created god

 
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EgyptianSheep
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:06 am    Post subject: the invisible self-created god Reply with quote

Hi guys:

I am very interested in ancient egypt, and hebrew monotheism as well.

Recently I read an article saying that the god Amun is self-created and invisible, which made me wonder whether the ancient Egyptians has started thinking about "the first mover" problem, and that is why they made the self-created Amun invisible, because if Amun has a figure, there is no difference between the self-created god and other created gods.

Besides, I noticed that the German Egyptologist Jan Assmann has written several books about this topic. To be honest I do not have time to read all of them, so I would like to know which book should I read first? Any recommendations?

thanks guys~
Merry Christmas
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would not start with Assmann. He is, in my view, very hard to read ... Try this one first :

Erik Hornung : Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt - The One and the Many. - [Translated by John Baines]. - London/Ithaca NY : Routledge & Kegan Paul; Cornell University Press, 1982. - ISBN : 0710094817. - 295 p., 20 figs, 4 pls [ills].
Quote:
English translation of "Der Eine und die Vielen : Altägyptische Götterwelt". The translation does not differ substantially from the German original. Some errors and wrong references have been removed, and references to recent publications have been added where necessary. The translation also includes the bibliography, which has been updated, the glossary of divine names, the index and illustrations of the original.


For Jan Assmann start with...

Of God and Gods - Egypt, Israel, and the Rise of Monotheism. - [George L. Mosse series in modern European cultural and intellectual history]. - Madison, WI : University of Wisconsin Press, 2008. - ISBN : 9780299225506; 9780299225544. - IX, 196 p.
Quote:
The majority of this book derives from lectures given by the author in Jerusalem; p. ix gives details. The book's argument takes forward ideas that he has expressed in numerous other publications and makes them available in brief form to an anglophone audience.
The first half of the book is the part mainly concerning Egypt. Its chapters are:

1. Understanding polytheism: the three-dimensional structure of the divine world (p. 9-27)
2. Seth the iconoclast: polytheism and the language of violence (p. 28-52)
3. All gods are one: evolutionary and inclusive monotheism (p. 53-75)

Also of interest should be...

Jan Assmann : The Search for God in Ancient Egypt. - [Translated by David Lorton]. - Ithaca, NY : Cornell University Press, 2001. - ISBN : 0801437865. - 288 p., 6 figs [ills, plans].

Greetings, Lutz.
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Unas
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is your overall goal in studying this topic? Are you learning about the debated connections between Akhenaten and Hebrew monotheism?
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evarelap
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if this same topic is treated on Jan Assman' book "From Akhenaten to Moses: Ancient Egypt and Religious Change" (AUC Press, 2014). I recently spotted this book in a bookstore in Cairo but decided to wait on buying it because I wanted to read reviews about it first. As Litz says, Assman is not an easy read.
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EgyptianSheep
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I am just interested in Ancient Egypt...

Unas...this name reminds me of the species in Stargate - SG1.

The first host of Goa'uld.
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EgyptianSheep
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the help.

I am going to the library now. Laughing
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

EgyptianSheep wrote:
... I am going to the library now.

There are some of his works also in English online...

Jan Assmann:


Communicative and Cultural Memory. - In: Cultural Memory Studies. - Berlin; New York : 2008.

Death and initiation in the funerary religion of Ancient Egypt. - In: Religion and Philosophy in Ancient Egypt. - 1989. - pp. 135 - 159.

Egyptian mortuary liturgies. - In: Studies in Egyptology, FS Lichtheim. - 1990. - pp. 1 - 45.

Form as a Mnemonic Device - Cultural Texts and Cultural Memory. - In: Performing the Gospel, FS Kelber. - 2006. - pp. 67 - 82.

Globalization, Universalism, and the Erosion of Cultural Memory. - In: Memory in a Global Age. - 2010. - pp. 121 - 137.

Guilt and Remembrance - On the Theologization of History in the Ancient Near East. - In: History and Memory 2-1. - 1990. - pp. 5 - 33.

Inscriptional violence and the art of cursing - A study of performative writing. - In: Stanford Literature Review 8. - 1992. - pp. 43 - 65.

Myth as historia divina and historia sacra. - In: Scriptural Exegesis, FS Fishbane. - 2009. - pp. 13 - 24.

Ocular desire in a time of darkness - Urban festivals and divine visibility in Ancient Egypt. - In: Oculare desire. - 1994. - pp. 13 - 29.

Preservation and Presentation of Self in Ancient Egyptian Portraiture. - In: FS Simpson 1. - 1996. - pp. 55 - 81.

Semiosis and interpretation in ancient Egyptian ritual. - In: Interpretation in Religion. - 1992. - pp. 87 - 109.

Solar discourse - Ancient egyptian ways of worldreading. - In: Deutsche Vierteljahresschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 68. - 1994. - pp. 107 - 123.

State and Religion in the New Kingdom. - In: Religion and Philosophy in Ancient Egypt. - 1989. - pp. 55 - 88.

Theological responses to Amarna. - In: Egypt, Israel, and the Ancient Mediterranean World - FS Redford. - 2004. - pp. 179 - 191.

When justice fails - Jurisdiction and imprecation in Ancient Egypt and the Near East. - In: JEA 78. - 1992. - pp. 149 - 162.


Greetings, Lutz.
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

evarelap wrote:
I wonder if this same topic is treated on Jan Assman' book "From Akhenaten to Moses: Ancient Egypt and Religious Change" (AUC Press, 2014). ...

Jan Assmann : From Akhenaten to Moses - Ancient Egypt and Religious Change. - Cairo : American University in Cairo Press, 2014. - ISBN : 9789774166310. - IX, 155 p.
Quote:
"The shift from polytheism to monotheism changed the world radically. Akhenaten and Moses — a figure of history and a figure of tradition — symbolize this shift in its incipient, revolutionary stages and represent two civilizations that were brought into the closest connection as early as the Book of Exodus, where Egypt stands for the old world to be rejected and abandoned in order to enter the new one.

The seven chapters of this study shed light on the great transformation from different angles. Between Egypt in the first chapter (1. "Structure and change in ancient Egyptian religion") and monotheism in the last (7. "Total religion: politics, monotheism, and violence"), five chapters deal in various ways with the transition from one to the other, analyzing the Exodus myth (2. "Myth and history of the Exodus: triumph and trauma"), understanding the shift in terms of evolution and revolution (3. "From polytheism to monotheism: evolution or revolution?"), confronting Akhenaten and Moses in a new way (4. "Moses and Akhenaten: memory and history"), discussing Karl Jaspers' theory of the Axial Age (5. "Ancient Egypt and the theory of the Axial Age"), and dealing with the eighteenth-century view of the Egyptian mysteries as a cultural model (6. "Egyptian mysteries and secret societies in the Age of Enlightenment").

These seven chapters are based on lectures given in 2012 at the American University in Cairo [chapters 1, 3, 4, 6, 7], the universities of St. Andrews, Tallinn, Prague [chapter 2], and Boston [chaper 5]."

Quote:
0 INTRODUCTION (pp. 1-6)

Akhenaten and Moses—two names that stand for the abolition of polytheism and the introduction of monotheism, a turn not only in religion but in the general intellectual orientation of humanity that changed the ancient world and brought about the world in which we are still living. All seven chapters of this book deal with this fundamental transformation. Their common subject is the question of change in the religions of Egypt and Israel and the search for the aspects and agents of religious transformation that affected not only the respective religions but the world in general. ...

1 STRUCTURE AND CHANGE IN ANCIENT EGYPTIAN RELIGION (pp. 7-24)

In 1967, Siegfried Morenz, a renowned specialist in ancient Egyptian religion, published a lecture in which he set out what he called “the structure of Egyptian religion.”¹ His definition consisted in positioning Egyptian religion within three pairs of oppositions: defining it as a national religion, not a world religion; a cult religion, not a book religion; and a historically developed religion, not a founded religion. This definition amounts to identifying Egyptian religion as a “primary” religion in contrast to “secondary religions,” which are defined as founded religions, all of which areeo ipsobook religions and world religions. ...

2 MYTH AND HISTORY OF THE EXODUS: TRIUMPH AND TRAUMA (pp. 25-42)

The Biblical story of the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt is probably the most influential story ever told. It is not only about the foundation of Judaism being annually retold and literally relived through every Seder night;¹ it also inspired revolutionary movements such as the Reformation, the Puritan revolt in England, and the emigration of the Puritans to America and the Boers to South Africa. It has also served as a symbol for movements of intellectual emancipation known as the Enlightenment, which Kant defined as “the Exodus of mankind from its self-imposed immaturity.” ...

3 FROM POLYTHEISM TO MONOTHEISM: EVOLUTION OR REVOLUTION? (pp. 43-60)

During the first millennium BCE there occurred a fundamental change in the ideas about the divine that we use to describe, in modern terminology, as a turn from polytheism to monotheism. This turn is commonly understood as a process of evolution. After all that we have learned about evolution, however, in the course of 2009, the “Darwin year,” we are no longer able to use the term ‘evolution’ in such a naive and uninhibited way. Rather, we must carefully distinguish between natural and cultural evolution, or between a scientific and a humanistic concept of evolution. ...

4 MOSES AND AKHENATEN: MEMORY AND HISTORY (pp. 61-78 )

Akhenaten is a figure of history without memory; Moses is a figure of memory without history. The two thus complement each other perfectly and are often associated, even identified, in modern literature. A figure of memory—what does this mean? What I mean by this formula is a person, historical or fictional, who lives in tradition, in myths, legends, pictures, works of history or fiction, whose sayings are quoted, whose tomb, if known, is visited, who may even receive a kind of cult. Moses is such a figure. ...

5 ANCIENT EGYPT AND THE THEORY OF THE AXIAL AGE (pp. 79-94)

In a book written immediately after the end of the Second World War, entitledVom Ursprung und Ziel der Geschichte(“On the Origin and Goal of History”), the philosopher Karl Jaspers identified the centuries around the middle of the first millennium BCE as the origin of the modern world and coined for this period of general transformation the term “the Axial Age.”¹ By this term, Jaspers means the time when the first texts were written that we are still reading, when the first great individuals arose that we still admire, when the religions were founded that we still practice. ...

6 EGYPTIAN MYSTERIES AND SECRET SOCIETIES IN THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT (pp. 95-112)

The eighteenth century was not only the Age of Enlightenment but also the age of secret societies—two apparently opposed tendencies, for we would normally associate light with publicity and secrecy with darkness and occultism. A missing link, however, is provided by a contemporary, and at that time novel, theory about the ancient mysteries, especially the Egyptian mysteries, that was first expounded by William Warburton in about 1740, but did not gain wide acceptance or begin to exert a domineering influence until a generation later, after Warburton’s work was translated into German by Johann Christian Schmidt. ...

7 TOTAL RELIGION: POLITICS, MONOTHEISM, AND VIOLENCE (pp. 113-130)

The world is full of violence committed in the name of religion. Where does this violence come from? What does it have to do with religion? This is the question to which this last chapter will be dedicated. I speak from an Egyptologist’s or antiquarian’s point of view; I am asking about origins, not about contemporary movements, let alone about the future of religion. I will be going back in time, seeking the earliest occurrences of genuinely religious violence and their historical circumstances. ..."

It still seems to be no review of this book available at the moment...

Greetings, Lutz.
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Unas
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smile
Quote:
Unas...this name reminds me of the species in Stargate - SG1.


Actually it's the name of a 5th dynasty pharaoh, one who has a small but interesting pyramid. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unas

For general articles, I might suggest you look through back issues of National Geographic as well, they often run informative yet easy-to-read pieces.
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evarelap
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The information on Assman's book posted by Lutz sounds interesting. I might go buy the book just to check out the chapter on Exodus.
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"From Akhenaten to Moses: Ancient Egypt and Religious Change with Jan Assmann - Conversations with History" (University of California Television - 12/7/2015, 59 minutes)
Quote:
"Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Jan Assmann, Honorary Professor of Cultural and Religious Studies at the University of Constance, for a discussion of his career as a Egyptologist and scholar of comparative religions. After reflections on his formative years in a German medieval town suffering from the ravages of World War II and its aftermath, Assmann describes the community of Egyptologists and the intellectual influences that shaped his scholarship. He also characterizes the intellectual joys and hardships of field research in ancient tombs. Finally, he touches on some of the themes of his scholarship including the evolution of ideas that characterize religious change; comparison of Moses and Akhenaten; and the importance of writing, canonization, and exegesis to cultural memory and the resilience and survival of religions. Recorded on 10/09/2015."

Greetings, Lutz.
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