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Creation myths essay

 
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Silaku Nasuwt
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 1:35 pm    Post subject: Creation myths essay Reply with quote

Right, I'v got to do this tma on creation myths for my Egyptology course, and I've having a bit of trouble with it so I'd appreciate some help if anyone can.

The first two questions aren't too bad, its the second lot I've got the trouble with.

1. Why do most religions have creation stories? (5 marks)

2. Why, with such diverse religions (ancient Egyptian and Christian) are certain elements of the stories identical? (5 marks)

And in special reference to the Egyptian stories discussed

1. Why is so little emphasis put on the creation of humans? (10 marks)

2. Do you think this reflects whom the stories were written for? (10 marks)


TOTAL 30 marks

I know I probably seem dumb for not knowing them... Embarassed

Thanks
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My answers are a bit vague and I know others can do better than me so here goes:

1. I think it's because humans at the time didn't know the science of how things came to be, and they were curious for answers for even the most basic things (ie why does the sun rise and set, why does the Nile flood, etc), and because they thought the gods were responsible for everything that exists, they came up with stories relating to how they brought the world into being?

2. I suppose it depends on the creation story? The only thing I can think of is actual contact between Egyptian and other Middle Eastern people and the mixing of ideas and influence on newer religions from older ones? Egypt and the near east (where the Judeo Christian beliefs originated) are pretty much next door to each other and there was a lot of trade going on between them.

3 and 4. I have no idea but I have a feeling it's to do with the idea that the creation myths were really only to be told to and understood by the priests and the pharaoh, but I could be wrong...
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are stories about the creation of humans. They were created on a potter's wheel (out of clay, by a god) if I remember correctly.
I wonder if the creation myths then are the attempted answers to the obvious next question: If the gods created us, where did the gods come from? The creation myths usually refer to the creation of the gods themselves.

It seems to me that the intended audience for these myths was probably the educated clergy in egypt. I cannot imagine that the poor farmer plowing his field would sit around wondering how things came into being. My guess would be that the "common person" was too busy making a living and finding ways to feed and otherwise support his/her family to really think about such questions overly much. Those kind of philosophical questions are usually pursued by people who have a bit more time on thier hands. Smile
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Silaku Nasuwt
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys! Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
There are stories about the creation of humans. They were created on a potter's wheel...


A lot of creation myths throughout the Near East are short on details of the creation of humans. In the creation myth found in the Memphite Theology, if I remember correctly, we are told how Ptah made the cities and the temples, but the story simply glosses over the creation of people. It's as though the creation of humankind is inferred by the other things Ptah caused to be.

What's clear in nearly all the creation myths of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Canaan, and Syria, is that people were created to serve the gods. LOL Where's the love?

One thing that has interested me is a reoccurring theme in many of these myths. In the myth of Khnum, which anneke mentioned, we learn how this god creates people out of clay on his potters wheel. In the Enuma elish tales of Mesopotamia we learn how the god Ea creates man out of clay or dirt and blood. And of course in the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 2:7) we read how God creates Adam out of clay or dirt. This seems to be a theme that is common throughout the Near East. In fact, in the Old Testament we find numerous themes that echo the far older tales of Mesopotamia in particular. I personally believe these were, at least to a certain degree, traditions that were passed down from one culture to another.
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kat
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dr. David Lorton has a discussion of one of the AE creation myths on his website:

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/1326/ontology.html
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Gerard.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On http://www.etana.org/ http://www.archive.org/ http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/ you will find many ancien books about Egypt and ANE religions. BREASTED CERNY ERMAN BUDGE SAYCE PETRIE ( BOYLAN ) are names you may want to look for.

You will not find a direct answers to your questions, but some chapters may help you to formulated them. Look at the TOC.

Regarding "Why is so little emphasis put on the creation of humans? " My guess is that because creation myths are about gods and only gods.
In the Bible there is only one God and there is nothing to say about him.

Countries also have creation stories. In France and in our former colonies we were told "Nos ancÍtres les Gaulois".
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