Talk:Ancient Egyptian religion

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A little while ago, I wrote an impassioned plea for help on the Horus talk page because I was very confused by my source. I'm extending that to all of Egyptian mythology. I plan on finding a source specifically devoted to it and trying to fix it, but not until I get some of these words out of my head before it explodes from trying to comprehend the Egyptians having a couple hundred gods, but only fifty or so names (as far as I can tell).

God A had a son named God B. God B was also known as God C, which was sometimes spelled God D. God D is also a different aspect of God A (his father, usually, though sometimes God E was his father). God E was a different aspect of God B, and an alternate spelling of God A. In addition, God E had a son with God B's daughter, God F, named God G. God G was actually a different form of God C (making him his own uncle??? second-cousin?), as well as an alternate spelling of God C (aka God D, aka God A, and an alternate form for God G) and a different form of God B. Try putting all that in your own words. (Perhaps this is why monotheism became popular

Anyway, I'm terrifically confused and if I have made any mistakes (I'm sure I have) feel free to change them to reflect the truth. Tokerboy 23:10 Oct 2, 2002 (UTC)

Funny, that's pretty much what Sir Wallis Budge said in the preface of his Egyptian Religion, although he was somewhat less passionate about it. If you're not already using his book to help you sort thru this jungle, I recommend it to you: ISBN 0-8065-1229-6 (in paperback -- I think I got it from Hamilton). -- isis 23:29 Oct 2, 2002 (UTC)
Thanks, I'll see if I can get the chance to track it down. Tokerboy 06:07 Oct 3, 2002 (UTC)

Its actually increadibly easy to understand - I have tried to re-write it to make this clear. There were initially 3 different religions - one with Ra as the chief god, one with Ptah as the head, and one with Atum. What happened was that the groups influenced each other over time, politics having a HUGE say (indeed changing Set from hero into villain, merely because the Hyksos quite liked him),

the changes were as follows

  • Atum + Ra (1) -> Atum-Ra -> Ra (2)
  • Ra (2) + Horus (1) -> Ra-Herakty = Horus (2)
Horus (1) was the son of Geb and Nuit, and named Horus the Elder
Ra-Herakty means Ra, who is Horus-of-the-two-horizons
Horus (2) was born from the primal mound (since Ra (1) and Ra (2) were)

meanwhile

  • Ptah + Seker -> Ptah-Seker
  • Ptah-Seker + Osiris (1) -> Ptah-Seker-Osiris -> Osiris (2)

and

  • various cow-goddesses + Hathor (1) ->Hathor (2)
  • Hathor (2) + Isis (1) -> Isis (2)

and

  • Set(1) + Apep + various other evil gods+demons -> Set (2)
Set (1) was a hero, Set (2) was a villain

then (for political reasons)

  • Horus (2) -> Harpocrates = Horus (3)
Harpocrates meaning Horus the child
Horus (3) is the son of Osiris (2) and Isis (2)

finally

  • Horus (3) + Osiris(2) -> Horus/Osiris (4)
Horus/Osiris (4) was only just happening at the end of egyptian mythology, so they still maintained some seperate identity.

N.b. some people allege that the final stage was

  • Horus/Osiris (4) -> Jesus/God-the-Father
  • Isis (2)-> Mary (Meri is egyptian for Beloved, one of the titles of Isis)
  • Set (2) ->Satan
Thanks for clearing it up! I don't really edit much mythology stuff anymore, but that's definitely a lot better. Tuf-Kat 21:21, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

I edited the comment beginning the "Death" section: "Egypt was possibly the first civilization to have any belief in an afterlife," should be removed as it is blatantly false. You can say the Egyptians were unique, perhaps even innovative, in their views of the afterlife, but to say they were the first denies way too much evidence to the contrary. DJProFusion 00:42, 19 January 2006 (UTC)DJProFusion

Religion or mythology?[edit]

I think this article should be at Egyptian religion. The mythology is only part of the religion. The theology examined by people like Erik Hornung and Siegfried Morenz is distinct from the mythology. Rd232 22:13, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

Positional afterlife[edit]

I watched excerpts of a French documentary named Pharaon dealing with mummies, and Egyptian religion. I understood that the Egyptians believed in three types of afterlife:

  • Eastwards, joining the sun-barge through the day
  • Westwards, going into the land of the night with Osiris.
  • Northwards, gathering around Polaris.

The westward one was not the preferred one. I had never heard about this division, so I am puzzled, but the film showed Zahi Hawass among other experts so it would not be very fringe.


I think it may be confusing for us because over time different interpretations of the after death journey held sway at different times. In true Egyptian fashion they fused them rather than replacing them so in the end there is a kind of amalgam of stellar, solar and Osirian processes. that is not to say that they are contradictory but they are different expressions of the same fundamental view. In the Old Kingdom the stellar view is stressed more - the king's aspiration is to become an imperishable star, the Osirian cycle is about the survival of the person through Horus and the selfs ultimate identity will the creative power, the solar one is to harmonize with the suns nightly regeneration (e.g. in the Amduat). Apepch7 22:58, 23 January 2007 (UTC) Earlier burials were usually on their side with the head facing East or West for the reasons you describe, but mostly east.Later dorsal burials usually had the head at west so that, on standing, the deceased would be facing east. Also, Polaris was not the pole star in ancient egyptian times; better to say joining the circumpolar stars.

How Many?[edit]

I need to know about how many Egyptian Deities there are before...tommorow. Please help me...

For future reference, that number is unknown, those deities known to modern man could fill a volume according to E. A. Wallis Budge, but we don't know which existed prior to writing, and we don't know how many passed away or belonged to an individual family, etc.
KV 18:11, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

According to relation standards... There are 42 Neteru that are named...this does not mean that there are only 42 gods...each god may have many aspects...Since this is the area of study i am currently involved in - i am going to make this page as comprehensive as i possibly can...Sorry I am late answering..--Maa-Kheru 04:37, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Ok... Ra, Amun, Ptah, Atum, Aten, Khumn, Shu, Tefnut, Sekhmet, Hathor, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Seth, Nephthys (sp?), Horus, Bastet, Bes, Sobek, Thoth, Anubis, Ba'al, That Phoencean goddess begining with an A, That other Phoencian goddess begining with an A, Quedesh (Sp?), Hapi, Hapy, Duatmateuf, Quesdemmuf (Sp?), The other son of Horus, Ma'at, Imhotep, Tat (Sp?, A sphinx god), Mut, Konshu, Tawert, the endless gaggle of Pharaohs (except for Akhenaten), Heka, Ammat, Apep (though Apep seems more like a devil then a god), Sokar, and Selqet. There are probably more, though. Tutthoth-Ankhre (talk) 17:57, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Unlike some cultures (for instance the Mesopotamians) the Egyptians never made a comprehensive list of all of their gods. I think the word 'heh' (millions) is sometimes used to describe their number, but 'heh' can also mean something like 'endless', so the basic idea is that as far as the Egyptians were concerned, there could be an unlimited number of gods.Fievos (talk) 01:43, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Egyptian Mythology != Egyptian Religion[edit]

Two acclaimed authors state very clearly that the educated classes of Egypt not only were monotheistic, but had no clue that their beliefs could ever be misrepresented..... E. A. Wallis Budge and Manly P. Hall. In fact, Egypt's monotheism has effected many other monotheisms, such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Something has to be done to fix this. I propose that I change the redirecting article of egyptian religion to a true article on the subject while some minor cleanup in the non-factual POV of Egyptian Idolatry be washed out.

KV 18:11, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Ancient Egyptian religon is not monotheistic... it is henotheistic...

No! There are over one hundered egyptian gods! Tutthoth-Ankhre (talk) 23:14, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

In fact, all "gods" were just aspects of one divinity. Egyptian religion was indeed monotheistic. Pretty much as the trinity concept in Christianity, just with a lot more than three "incarnations". Cush (talk) 18:23, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

The truth is that we don't know for sure exactly how the Egyptians understood their religion, and it probably changed over time. Egyptian religious writing is never very clear, and if you read any definite assertions about what they believed you should take it as that particular writer's opinion. Some texts are clearly polytheistic, describing the different gods having different functions and relationships to each other, or even being antagonistic to one another (Horus and Seth, for instance). Texts from the Middle and New Kingdom often describe a single underlying divine force (the wisdom literature or some spells from the Coffin Texts, for example), but the idea of multiple gods doesn't go away (except briefly during the Amarna period). There are clear examples of henotheism in some, especially late, literature, I can think of examples of hymns focusing on Hathor, Thoth, Amun-Ra and Mut. And finally there is definitely some pantheism (the idea of multiple gods being emanations or forms of one god, and the world itself being part of god), the clearest demonstrations of this are in the Memphite Theology (where Ptah creates the world and gods, and they are all part of him) and Papyrus Leiden I, 350, IV.21f:("Three are all gods, Amun, Re and Ptah, there are none beside them. His name is hidden as Amun, he manifests himself as Re, his body in Ptah.") So it seems to me (and Jan Assmann, probably the biggest figure in the field of Egyptian religion at the moment) that polytheism, pantheism, henotheism and even some form of monotheism coexisted in Ancient Egypt, with polytheism dominant in the Old Kingdom and pantheism dominant from the Ramesside period (13th century) onwards.Fievos (talk) 01:43, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Hornung (Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt) provides a fairly thorough historical analysis of these ideas. Attributing monotheism or henotheism is now largely held as erroneous. Assman does give a well-argued different view, but remains controversial at the present time, so Wiki is understandably and justifiably presenting an accredited mainstream view it seems to me. The difference between mythology and religion is an interesting one, but Ancient Egyptian religion is not the currently practiced religion of mainstream Egypt: hence the differentiation. Parzivalamfortas 16:15, 23 November 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Parzivalamfortas (talkcontribs)

Wikiproject: Egyptian Religion[edit]

I am proposing a Wikiproject to enhance articles on Egyptian Religion.... please check it out and see if you want to add yourself.

KV 19:12, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Akhenaten[edit]

This article places Ankhenaten in the Roman period, which is blatantly false (as described in the Ankhenaten article itself which puts him around 1379 BC. What gives? --Black Butterfly 13:18, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Someone apparently goofed in the editing. Akhenaten should go before the Libyan period, but I don't know what period it should be called. It reads like a section before it might have been accidentally deleted, also. Tycon.jpgCoyoty 18:25, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
I do not really understand why this was placed under "external influences" (the mention of possible Hebrew influence is relatively brief); am going to insert parts of it into the Ankhenaten section. --Black Butterfly 12:15, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

I removed and copied it below. I don't understand why it lasted there for as long as it did! It also needs more editing. The citations, for example, are not included in the references section. — [zɪʔɾɪdəʰ] · t 04:36, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Around this time was also Akhenaten, who was thought to have been divinely inspired. However, it does not seem likely that Akhenaten simply decided out of the blue to make such a major change in religion at the time. Many early historians, determined to link Akhenaten's religion somehow to the Jewish religion, said that he was inspired by Joseph or Moses (Redford, p. 4, 1984). This is a possibility, considering that Joseph, at least, was around in roughly the same time period as Akhenaten. However, after close examination of Akhenaten's religion, this hypothesis seems unlikely. Akhenaten's religion did center on one god, but his major emphasis was on the Aten's visibility, tangibility, and undeniable realness. Akhenaten placed no emphasis, therefore, on faith.

According to John Tuthill, a professor at the University of Guam, Akhenaten's reasons for his religious reform were political. By the time of Akhenaten's reign, the god Amen had risen to such a high status that the priests of Amen had become even more wealthy and powerful than the pharaohs. However, Barbara Mertz argued that Akhenaten and his courtiers would not have easily perceived this (Mertz, 1966, p. 269). Still, this theory remains as a possibility to be considered. It may be that Akhenaten was influenced by his family members, particularly his wife or mother (Dunham, 1963, p. 4; Mertz, 1966, p. 269). There was a certain trend in Akhenaten's family towards sun-worship. Towards the end of the reign of Akhenaten's father, Amenhotep III, the Aten was depicted increasingly often. Some historians have suggested that the same religious revolution would have happened even if Akhenaten had never become pharaoh at all. However, considering the violent reaction that followed shortly after Akhenaten's untimely death, this seems improbable.

The reasons for Akhenaten's revolution still remain a mystery. Until further evidence can be uncovered, it will be impossible to know just what motivated his unusual behavior.


The External influences and Notes on pronunciation sections (see the History) have been removed as they have little to do with the article's topic and do not even refer to the topic —Flembles 12:08, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

What was the point of putting this?[edit]

I found this randomly inserted in the article...

The most powerful god was Sarah the great. She would decend to the earth once a year to to make sure everthing was pleasing. If it wasn't, she would take sacrifices to McDonalds for burgers on them. If she was pleased, she would let them go. If not, she would eat them. Sarah was the most beatiful god, depicted in pictures as a tall penguin.

Har har, very funny. Knock it off, people come here to be informed, not amused.

Amut[edit]

Not a goD but a diety? If I'm am reading that right.... how can a deity not be a god?

You are correct. According to Wiktionary, 'Deity' comes from the latin 'Deus' which means 'God'. I suppose Deity encompasses 'God' and 'Goddess'. Donnyj (talk) 00:48, 21 January 2008 (UTC)Donnyj

Glyphdoctors[edit]

Someone has removed this external link on the basis that it is 'commercial'. I use this site all the time as I registered for free. There is a lot of information and discussion boards which I find invaluable. I am not sure that this site should have been removed but don't know what the rules are.Apepch7 12:34, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

The rules against commercial sites are very strict. I have seen sources removed that had the information on the site, which itself was free, but the author did have a "buy my book" link on there that you could hardly see. Don't expect to have it readded. KV(Talk) 17:12, 23 April 2007 (UTC)


deities and gods[edit]

what is the difference between a god(I mean an ancient god) and a deity? What happens if the egyptians do not follow the religion? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 203.214.71.43 (talk) 02:25:32, August 18, 2007 (UTC)

Difference between a god and a deity: zero. God is a Germanic word, deity a Romance one - English, being a magpie of a language, uses them both. What happens if Egyptians do not follow the religion? There wasn't much to follow - you just made the right sacrifices, follwoed the right rituals, and paid tithes to the right temples. If you didn't, of course, the priests wouldn't like it, and you wouldn't want that, now would you, if you were an ancient Egyptian? PiCo (talk) 08:04, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

"deity" includes both genders, while "gods" are male, the corresponding feminine being "goddess". dab (𒁳) 13:41, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Is this sentence right?[edit]

"After the fall of the Amarna dynasty, the original Egyptian pantheon survived more or less as the dominant religion, until the establishment of ... Islam..." The pantheon survived until Islam? Are we sure of this? PiCo (talk) 08:04, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

no. there may have lingering remnants well into the Roman period, with the Hieroglyphica dating to as late as the 5th century. These were confused memories of the older tradition, nothing like a "dominant religion". You could say in fairness that "Ancient Egyptian religion" went into steep decline and massive syncretism with Greek mystery traditions from the Ptolemaic period, with the last lingering remnants petering out in around the 5th century AD. --dab (𒁳) 12:31, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, Egyptian religion was dying out from the 3rd century onwards, when Christianity gradually became the dominant religion in Egypt, but until that time it was very much a vital force, and the temple to Isis at Philae was one of the very last temples to close (sometime in the 5th century from memory). The fact that it syncretised to some extent with the Greco-Roman religion doesn't mean it died out or went into decline, and both the Ptolemies and Roman Emperors sponsored the traditional temple cults.Fievos (talk) 01:43, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Incorrect Citing[edit]

In The Monothesism Period section, there appears to be citation, written in full, in the middle of the article.

"However, it may be that Akhenaten was influenced by his family members, particularly his wife or mother (Dunham, 1963, p. 4; Mertz, 1966, p. 269)."

Since I am a fairly new editor, would anyone mind properly citing this for me please (if it is incorrectly done so.)

Donnyj (talk) 00:45, 21 January 2008 (UTC)Donnyj


Gods list[edit]

I wish to make a list of Gods and have got sitatians for them so that it can be a quick reference list (like a chart) can someone help me??? hannah (talk) 13:17, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

please consider starting out with this list here. --dab (𒁳) 12:27, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Animal heads?[edit]

I recently read in "Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide" (edited by Sarah Iles Johnston, 2004) that the Egyptians never actually believed their gods had animal heads stuck on top of human bodies. The gods simply had an animal form and a 'human' form and these two icons were combined into a the animalgods we know so well as a way of refering to both these forms at the same time. The book furthermore said that the Greeks misinterpreted this and thought that the Egyptians actually worshipped animal-headed gods and the idea has stuck ever since. I don't know if this is true since I haven't read any other scholarly literature on the subject of Egyptian religion. Could anyone confirm this? If so, I think this should be added to the article since the Egyptians gods are well-known for their 'strange' appearance. 84.28.49.55 (talk) 14:18, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Same as in Hinduism. The gods are only represented having animal heads to symbolize certain characteristics of the respective animal, but the gods are not thought to be human-animal hybrids. Cush (talk) 18:32, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Qualifications[edit]

I anyone here an Egyptologist or does anyone have any formal training? If so I would be most intrested to talk to you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.230.192.142 (talk) 23:01, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Is this really necessary?[edit]

"Egyptian religion has been called a form of "paganism" by the Christians who took over" because all ancient polytheistic faiths are called paganism by modern monotheistic cultures, and the fact isn't notable —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.176.27.25 (talk) 03:16, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Edit conflict[edit]

The following edit was undone [1] on the basis that the ref didn't check out, however the source book (p45) is available through google books [2] and it supports the original text - unless I'm blind to something. Rather than simply revert I would like to ask for clarification as to why my edit misrepresents the source material. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Taam (talkcontribs) 18:20, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, must clean my glasses as I didn't see the '-45'. I've reverted but I think that this needs verifying from more than one source. On the other hand, this is his field, so.. Dougweller (talk) 18:40, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
No problem, thanks for keeping an eye on the quality of the edits. With regard to the so called "one and the many":
"In Amun-Re's most advanced theological expressions the other gods became symbols of his power or manifestations of him -he himself being the one and only supreme power. This absolute supremacy of Amun-Re...." The Oxford Guide: Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology", edited by Donald B. Redford, p20, Berkley Press, 2003, ISBN 0-425-19096-x Parameter error in {{isbn}}: Invalid ISBN.
As for allusions to trinitarian concepts, these can also be found in works by Christian theologians e.g. "It is questionable wether the many gods of the cosmogenies and the statues were thought of as totally distinct. The Egyptians knew that a single representation of a god did not suffice to express the presence of the divine in the universe. They therefore spoke necessarily of the 'gods', but were not necessarily making a dogmatic proposition in favour of polytheistic scheme....we should be in a bad way ..if we supposed those who speak of the trinity are not monotheist. (p140)"A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture", Nelson, 1969, SBN 171220102. Taam (talk) 19:22, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
I was hoping to write a section on syncretism directly beneath the one on polytheism, which would include the merging of all the gods into Amun. I hadn't gotten to it because the degree of monotheism is debated and the distinctions are very fine– and I take a long time to decide on the precise wording of sentences, to make sure that I say exactly the right thing.
I think we should avoid direct comparisons to Christianity, as it might give the impression that the Egyptians were more monotheistic than they were. Even after Amun became the supreme god, they continued to worship the other gods, with all their diverse characteristics and personalities. Though they acknowledged the gods as ultimately emanating from Amun, this isn't quite the same as the Trinity, as the different "persons" of God don't have wildly divergent personalities, and I suspect the distinctions between them are not fully understood by most laymen. A. Parrot (talk) 19:31, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
I have my own views also but I think it's best to reference directly from experts in their own fields who, hopefully, represent current scholarly opinion. I was about to add some more material from a different source that explained the apparent lack of dogmatic/doctrinal definitions in the context of how A.E viewed myth in a metaphysical universe, rather than how we tend to view through the lens of modern scientific rational thought but it got lost in an edit conflict and it will probably be next week before I can get back to it - unless you cover it in your proposed section (imo the A.E religion is very strange without such an understanding). I'm not sure that all Christian groups throughout history have believed that the persons of God as described in the Bible have very similar characteristics, it was one of the early causes of fragmentation but I agree that is wandering too far off topic in what should be an overview. Also I'm very sorry if the material added is controversial in any way - I'm no expert, (just an interested layman), but I thought from what I have read that this scholars opinion was not a radical point of view and since I have a little interest in comparative religions I added what I thought might be of interest to other people as well. Taam (talk) 20:16, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Whatever the distinctions between the persons of the Trinity, they never fought among each other as the Egyptian gods sometimes did. I think at least part of Allen's reason for drawing the comparison with the Trinity was to make an analogy that Westerners could relate to. Personally, I think a more accurate comparison would be with Hinduism, though I don't have a source for that. But in any case, I have another source (Wilkinson's Complete Gods and Goddesses) that summarizes the monotheism-versus-polytheism debate this way:

…James Allen has suggested a synthesis of the two opposing views of Egyptology regarding Akhenaten's monotheism. One approach (accepted mainly by earlier Egyptologists) views Akhenaten's ideas as derivative of concepts present in Egyptian religion long before that king's reign, and the other (championed by Erik Hornung) sees Akhenaten's religion– especially his monotheism– as a radical innovation without any precedent whatsoever.… While stressing that Hornung is certainly right in pointing to the distinction between Akhenaten's monotheism and earlier Egyptian understandings of god, Allen has shown that what was radical about Akhenaten's theology was not its proclamation of the oneness of god but its insistence on exclusivity. The polyvalent logic of Egyptian thought could easily allow an appreciation of the underlying oneness of god to coexist with traditional Egyptian polytheism. He suggests, in fact, that the best evidence for this is actually the phenomenon of syncretism which "unites simultaneously the Many and the One." This is not to say that Egyptian religion was essentially "monotheism with a polytheistic face"– and the perception of god as essentially One may perhaps have been limited to a few Egyptian theologians at any one time. But maybe for even ordinary Egyptians the experience of god could have been to some extent monotheistic– while they continued to view the world in polytheistic terms, they also identified their notion of "god" with a particular god in specific situations.

This passage (and those that follow it) gives the impression that Allen's viewpoint is more or less the current consensus. However, it's not exactly like the Trinity, or at least may not have been. Believe me, I can understand the desire to make such an analogy, because trying to explain all that without an analogy is giving me a headache. But I'm concerned that such a comparison might mislead those readers who are not already familiar with the subject. A. Parrot (talk) 20:51, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

I think you may be right about the authors use of analogy. The trinity concept has many aspects but the one which strikes me, and possibly this was intended, is unity in plurality underneath the layer of myth. He doesn't say it's exactly the same as the Chrisitan Trinity but only similar. Personally it gave me a familiar peg to hang on A.E concepts but I can't think of a better one that can be cited as yet. Also feel the material you quote would enhance the article if incorporated Taam (talk) 16:36, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

BC-AD/BCE-CE[edit]

Every once in a while somebody will change the dating system near the beginning of the article from BC/AD to Common Era, or vice versa. This is annoying, as they usually do not make the dates in the rest of the article consistent with their change, and besides, switching back and forth is unconstructive. I do not care which system is used; a difference that makes no difference is no difference. I have now changed the dates to BC-AD (though I might have missed some), simply because that is consistent with the main Ancient Egypt article. Anyone who wants to change the dates again should discuss it below, but I really do not see the point. A. Parrot (talk) 04:17, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Temples vs other shrines[edit]

"Temples were the most important location for interaction between humans and the gods" is a recent change, that I am not sure I can agree with. Do we have a source for this statement? What about village shrines, which were not full temples, or home shrines. Since most commoners would rarely if ever enter the temple proper, is this the right way to state this? Perhaps say something about the temples being important for state rituals instead? - IanCheesman (talk) 16:46, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

A ref is cited at the end of the next sentence (Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, pp. 42, 44) but it's not clear how much of the foregoing text it relates to. Does the ref support the statement? If not then in my opinion in the absense of any other supporting refs it shouldn't be included as it appears to be WP:OR. The same would be true for alternative statements such as the use for state rituals unless such rituals, and the role of the temple in them, are documented in reliable sources. -- Timberframe (talk) 17:32, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
I have been very careful about the citations in all of my additions; each citation supports the preceding section of text up until the previous citation. If you believe it necessary, I can change the sections I've added so far ("Polytheism", "Temples", "Priests", and everything in "Writings") to include a citation at the end of each sentence, though it would get rather redundant that way. If you believe that this particular statement is too strong to support with only one citation, perhaps it can be removed, but that is what the book says. (I wish I had more sources on hand, but I won't be able to get them at least until next month. Until then I'm forced to rely on the few sources I have, of which Wilkinson is the most thorough.) A. Parrot (talk) 19:42, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Hi AP! My only concern would be if someone else had added the statement without it being supported by the next citation. I wouldn't want to see every clause repetitiously cited, so if the statement is covered by the following citation then I've no problem with it as it stands. -- Timberframe (talk) 21:37, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Hey, no problem at all, all of my books are packed away right now (getting ready to move). It was just that the sentence changed a lot, while the reference a sentence later stayed the same. I wasn't sure if that same reference matched the new sentence or not. Even if it does, I am still not sure my understanding of personal and village shrines agrees, but like I said, I don't have my resources on my right now. I guess I'll have to add it to my "to do" list. As for the other changes you've made recently, I think they are fine. - IanCheesman (talk) 22:28, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

What did the Ancient Egyptians call their religions?[edit]

I know that the Ancient Egyptians called Egypt Khemet which means the black land but what did they call their religion? What was the Egyptian word for it and what is the translation of that word? Keraunos (talk) 07:18, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

The concept of 'religion' is fairly new, most ancient cultures weren't conscious of distinct religions (Islam, Christianity, Egyptian Religion, Roman Religion), and didn't distinguish their beliefs from reality in the same way we do; we tend to see religion as a separate sphere of life which depends on faith, tells us how to act ethically, explains what happens when we die and consists of ritual practices. To an Ancient Egyptian the worldview we call their 'religion' was a matter of fact, so they didn't have a distinctive word for it. In terms of a way of acting that was ethical and in tune with the will of the gods (another meaning of 'religion') the word they used was 'ma'at' (probably pronounced "mu'a" in the New Kingdom). The word they used for ritual practices was probably 'iry ikhet' or 'things done'Fievos (talk) 01:43, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Chronology and Early Religion[edit]

Having been interested in early (that is predynastic and early dynastic, perhaps up to the Pyramid Texts) Egyptian religion, I have wanted to see a chronology, showing the first mentions of gods and their role at the time. Shouldn't this be found on the individual god articles? It is not. Rather, they may mention that "Osiris first appeared in the Fourth Dynasty," yet this is sporadic. I would appreciate it if this was covered in the articles, or on this page, a timeline was given. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.181.67.130 (talk) 00:08, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

That information certainly should be in the individual articles. Unfortunately it isn't, because all those articles (like so much of Wikipedia) lack attention from decent writers, and because detailed Egyptological information like that is diffuse and difficult to find. A chart like you suggest, though, doesn't belong here, because it's too much detail for this overview article. A. Parrot (talk) 00:41, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Time chart needed[edit]

The terms "Old", "Middle" and "New" Kingdoms are used but not explained--at least as far as I could see quickly. I feel that a simple chart of the periods of Egyptian history would help clear this up. It is especially important to show when first Greek and then Roman administrations enter the picture in part because the Romans had a big hand in popularizing the Osiris myth.

As always, thanks for what is here.

--174.7.25.37 (talk) 03:06, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Later Periods & Legacy[edit]

There is a big chunk of history missing here. These sectins say that the Ancient Egyptian religion began to fade about 3rd-4th century due to the spread of Christianity and the edicts of Christian emperors. Then it jumps to the 19th century and Napoleon. Ok, so sometime between the 3rd and the 19th centuries, the Ancient Egyptian religion came to an end. When? Christianity started its decline, but did it finish off the AER? As I understand it, modern Egypt is predominantly Islamic, right? Did the spread of Islam have anything to do with the final end of AER? Or was it mostly abandoned by the time Islam entered the area? Boneyard90 (talk) 19:25, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

I meant to indicate that AER had ceased to exist—mostly—by the time of the Islamic conquest. I apologize for not making that clear enough. I say "mostly" because there are a lot of complicating details. As far as I can discern, most temples ceased to function by the early fifth century, because of waves of persecution by fanatical Christians following Theodosius' decrees. But the last temple, Philae, stayed open until AD 550, because devout worshippers in Nubia, just outside the empire's borders, wanted it open. And Frankfurter, my major source for this part of AER's history, emphasizes that Egyptians did not outright abandon their traditional practices simply because the temples were closed. Those practices took a long time to be mostly gone, and it would practically be impossible to say when that was. Some AER traditions exist in Egypt to this day. Although I don't have much detail about it, women in Dendera who want to have children still go to the crypts in the temple of Hathor as a sort of fertility treatment. (I don't know if they realize that they're effectively invoking a pagan goddess to cure their infertility. As an analogy, Westerners generally don't realize that the custom of throwing coins in a pool originated with the pre-Christian European practice of leaving offerings for local water spirits. But the brief statement I read about the women at Dendera seems to suggest that they do know what they're doing.) There are a lot of aspects of AER that I still need more information about, and the survival of its remnants in post-Roman Egypt is one of them.
Anyway, I'll think about ways to summarize all that and work it into the article. A. Parrot (talk) 20:16, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Cool. Thanks for the reply! Good luck. Boneyard90 (talk) 20:31, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Not sure how the article should handle this if at all - but there is a tradition (which is backed up by scholarship) that the Egyptian religion went 'underground' through the Hermetic practices of Alchemy and so on. This idea seems to be supported by Hornung and others. OOps just realised the article does say that ... but perhaps more detail could be added ... I will see if I can find some useful references. Apepch7 (talk) 09:02, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Great article[edit]

Kudos to the primary contributors on this article. It's quite good.Jasonnewyork (talk) 16:48, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 6 March 2014[edit]

Eastside84 (talk) 19:48, 6 March 2014 (UTC)tudhugfb

Not done: it's not clear what changes you want made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. — {{U|Technical 13}} (tec) 20:01, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Gods of Egypt[edit]

The usage and primary topic of "Gods of Egypt" is under discussion, see talk:Gods of Egypt (film) -- 65.94.43.89 (talk) 04:41, 17 May 2015 (UTC)


July 2017[edit]

STOP!!! As it stands now (July 2017) this a great page in terms of accuracy, referencing and lack of bias. It's the best Ancient Egypt page I've read on Wikipedia, and I've read most of them. Please don't screw it up. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 194.168.148.250 (talk) 09:01, 19 July 2017 (UTC)

194.168.148.250: I wrote nearly all of the current version of this article, and I'm happy to hear that you think of it so highly. But I have learned a great deal about ancient Egyptian religion since I stopped working on this article, and trust me, there is a lot to improve. For the past several years I've been working on improving sub-articles on the same topic (my favorite being ancient Egyptian deities). I do intend to come back to this one someday, when I feel knowledgeable enough about all of the subtopics to treat them all accurately, and rest assured that when I rework it I will do so carefully. No other Wikipedians seem interested enough to work much on ancient Egyptian religion topics, so I don't think you'll need to worry that this article will change anytime soon.
Incidentally, when leaving a new comment on a talk page, please click "new topic" so your comment will go at the bottom of the page. A. Parrot (talk) 00:32, 20 July 2017 (UTC)