Template talk:Ancient Egyptian religion

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WikiProject Ancient Egypt / Egyptian religion  (Rated Template-class)
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Template Overhaul[edit]

The size of this template was out of control--the main problem was that there was far too much white space. I basically kept the same content but using a different template style we can reduce the footprint by at least in half. I updated the color scheme to match the rest of the ancient Egypt templates as well. Perhaps we can use a show-box for the deities to further reduce the footprint. Feel free to add back any links you think should go in, but I took a few out I thought were not relevant. There is now no need for all the manual linebreaks in the template. Jeff Dahl (Talkcontribs) 16:01, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

Grouping the Gods[edit]

I was looking over this template, and I thought that organizing the gods alphabetically might not be the best way to do it. I write that because the egyptian gods, unlike the olympian ones, didn't have any set number. Some gods are also slightly redundant, or were more worshipped during a certain time, or their qualities were swallowed up by more mainstream god later in Egyptian history. It might be better to organize the Gods in the categories of Ogdoads (the 8 god-pairs representing the primordial forces), the Greater Ennead (the 9 gods that Amon begat), Gods involved with inundation etc. that the Egpyptians themselves did. An example for this might look like:

I thought this might make the pantheon easier to navigate. I'm not sure whether the names should be ordered by popularity/use or alphabetically. The categories "War Gods" and "Outdated Gods" I just made up, if anyone has a better suggestion about this please don't be shy. Heilingetorix (talk) 13:28, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

The problem is that the groups that the Egyptians formed are not at all fixed. Just some small examples: the most common version of the Great Ennead of Heliopolis contains Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys. Sometimes, though, Ra or Ra-Horakhty is a member or Horus is a member or Seth and Nephthys are absent. The Ogdoad is usually Amun, Amaunet, Nun, Naunet, Kuk, Kauket, and Huh and Hauhet, but even that is variable (your version is different). And that's not counting the gods with multiple roles (Hathor is involved with sex, drunkenness, motherhood, aggression, the sky, the sun, the afterlife, and more) or the gods who are each other (Ptah is sometimes Naunet or Tatenen or Osiris or Sokar or Osiris and Sokar). There is still more argument along similar lines in my comments on this page.
I don't mean to be discouraging; on the surface the idea of categorizing the gods makes more sense than putting them into an arbitrary alphabetical order. But the nature of the Egyptian gods is so amazingly fluid that any category is itself going to be arbitrary. I think that alphabetical order isn't much more artificial than any other system, and it has the advantage that English speakers can find what they're looking for by name. A. Parrot (talk) 03:04, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I see your point, you are correct. The Egyptian cosmology changed substantially over it's 4000 years of being practised and the opinion of what is and isn't the Ennead or Ogdoad groups changes depending on which scribe wrote the lists. Nor does Egyptological literature have any consistent categorization. But I feel the current version cannot stand. Last semester, while preparing for an exam in Egyptology lecture and I tried to learn about the Cosmology using the Wikipedia articles and the alphabetical template. It was frustrating, I couldn't make any categories of which gods were important and which were not, or who created who, or when any one god was popular. The length of the list is intimidating. I also disagree that alphabetical organization helps a reader find the God they are looking for, since the anglicised spelling of any Egyptian god's name is as multiplicitous as the cosmology itself.

Here is a new and different idea. What if one was to create an egyptian cosmology portal? After assessment I feel the Ancient Egypt articles aren't very well organized anyhow, especially as they pertain to the religion, which permeated the entire life of Ancient Egypt. Heilingetorix (talk) 17:58, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

There is Index of Egyptian mythology articles. If its organization were overhauled, I don't think there would be a need for a new page; portals rarely get much attention.
The question then becomes how to organize the index. To start with, we could have sections for groups of deities (like the Ennead and Ogdoad), emblems (like the djed pillar), concepts (like Ancient Egyptian concept of the soul), and deities. The only reasonably consistent division among deities seems to be by sex (the division is sort of breached in the case of Atum and in the relatively rare linking of Ptah-Naunet, but those are the only instances I know of). Therefore, we could have categories for gods and goddesses. What do you think? A. Parrot (talk) 23:28, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I like the idea, could we also organize the gods and goddessess by relative significance i.e. Isis, Osiris, Hapi, Khnum, etc. towards the top and all those obscure gods whose names I don't recall atm towards the bottom?Heilingetorix (talk) 13:56, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
But then you have the problem of how to rank importance when it varied over time. (Ra was important longer than Amun, but once Amun became a big deal he was just as important in official religion and probably more popular among ordinary people. Isis was always important but not supreme until the last thousand years or so. And the list goes on.) Sometimes it seems the Egyptians were trying to stymie our organizational efforts.
I'm afraid alphabetical organization is going to be necessary at some level, although I certainly see your point about the various spellings. A comprehensive list will probably have to include all the variants—e.g., an entry for Thoueris that says "see Taweret". I don't know what we should do about this template, though, where that would take up too much space. If we're focusing on the index now, perhaps we should continue this discussion at Talk:Index of Egyptian mythology articles. A. Parrot (talk) 17:25, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

I've reverted an attempt to have this template called Ancient Egyptian Religion and Kemetism - Kemetism is already in the template as an ensuing religion and it's obviously inappropriate to put it in the title. I also removed some piping that changed the spelling of names - if anyone thinks an article title is wrong, they need to change the article title first. Eg if someone thinks 'Hapi' should be spelled differently, get agreement at the article first for the change. Dougweller (talk) 08:59, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

The template is not related to one only article. I have re added Kemetism in the title since it's the thorough modern revival of Egyptian religion. I have also re-added the Djed concept, without specifying it is a symbol of divine presence or world tree (which is testified by myths). As for the deities: it would be more informative to divide them according to the theories of Egyptian theologies, or create an article about the Egyptian theologies: I think the common one throughout Egypt was that viewing Amun as the "Hidden", the originating principle or essence of all things, Ra as his fiery energy, and Ptah-Osiris as the Demiurge/Logos/Word. --79.1.205.168 (talk) 11:46, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
Kemetism is already linked in the template as an ensuing religion (as I said), and I can't see a reason to put it at the top of the 'tree' unless someone is trying to say Kemetism and Ancient Egyptian Religion are somehow equal in weight. This is a major change that needs discussion. As for your belief in a common theology, that needs reliable sources. Dougweller (talk) 16:19, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
Well, in the New Kingdom (mostly Dynasties 19 and 20) Amun, Ra, and Ptah were the gods most emphasized in state religion, and according to at least some sources (like Jan Assmann) the theology surrounding this triad was like what 79.1.205.168 describes. But that theology had a limited influence in time and Egyptian society. It didn't exist before the Eighteenth Dynasty and, as far as I know, wasn't very prominent after the Twentieth. And in any period, depending on the circumstances, any god could be called the most important, so the Amun-Ra-Ptah triad was really just the theology promoted by the state (see ancient Egyptian deities and the sources it cites for more detail). For more general problems with organizing Egyptian deities by subject, see my old discussion with Heilingetorix above.
While I don't object to linking Kemetism (or Hermeticism) in the template, I'm uncomfortable giving it equal attention there with ancient Egyptian religion itself. It could be construed as implying that Kemetism is not only related to AER but deserves equal coverage with it in AER-related articles. Independent reliable sources discussing Kemetism are much more difficult to come by than those discussing the ancient religion, and if every article on an AER topic had to cover the Kemetist perspective on it, they would all become more difficult to write. Nor do most reliable sources for AER subjects give Kemetism any attention. Wikipedia should cover Kemetism as much as is possible given our reliable source rules, and the main ancient Egyptian religion article should mention Kemetism's relationship with AER, but they should not be lumped in together. A. Parrot (talk) 18:04, 20 July 2013 (UTC)