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Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt Paperback – October 1, 1972

ISBN-13: 978-0812210453 ISBN-10: 081221045X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (October 1, 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081221045X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812210453
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,173,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A monument and a classic. . . . In this book we find the impact of nature upon religion in the abounding land of Egypt; the first skepticism and questionings of the system; the search for social justice as an answer to social woes, and the consequent seizure of royal privileges by lesser men; the attempt to assert monotheism; humble trust in a forgiving god; and the final triumph of priestly rule over religion. Because it is remote from us in time and place, we can look at it in detachment. And yet, in its cadences and in its stresses, it is our own story."—John A. Wilson, from the Introduction

"A masterly study of the development of religion and thought in ancient Egypt. . . . No better attempt has been made to trace from beginning to end the leading categories of life, thought, and civilization as they successfully made their mark on religion, or to follow religion from age to age, disclosing especially how it was shaped by these influences, and how in turn it reacted to society."—E. O. James

About the Author

By James H. Breasted. Introduction by John A. Wilson

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Francesca Jourdan on March 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
The author, founder of the Oriental Institute in Chicago, opened the doors to all subsequent studies in ancient religion. This is a classic, to be read before anything else on the subject of ancient Egyptian religion. The author describes how the Egyptians developed at an early date a sense of the moral unworthiness of man and a consciousness of deep-seated moral obligation. This is a deep work into the minds of the Ancient Egyptians.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lee on July 30, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Even though this was written 90 years ago this is as current as one might hope for. In anticipation of a visit to Egypt in a couple of months I wanted to learn something of the history and motivation for the sights we are about to see. This provided that and much more. One slight draw back was the abilty to cross reference the footnotes. They refer to pages in the document...but, of course, with Kindle no pages are listed or indexed. Even with that slight problem, it was well worth my while to read every footnote.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey S. Bullard on June 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Breasted, the great Egyptologist who, after perhaps 40 years of exploring Egypt, really knows his stuff, was asked to give some lectures at Union Theological Seminary in 1910(?). This is the result. In some regards, it is similar to Wm James' Variety of Religious Experiences", the publishing of his lectures given in 1899 (?)in Edinburgh. Insightful, and absorbing. (The dates are approximate because I don't have the books in front of me.)

Breasted work was in what might be considered the golden age of archeology. Napoleon had discovered and retrieved the Rosetta stone in 1798, enabling Egyptian heirogliphs to be translated. Schliemann (a remarkable man!) discovered "Illium" (Troy) in the late 1800's. And the race was on among the diggers of the world! Lord Cardovan opened King Tut's tomb in 1912 (?), and Egypt became everyone's fascination. (See Arnold Toynbee's, Study of History). The dead sea scrolls were discovered much later, but the fascination with Egypt was punctuated by the fact that how the pyramids were built is still a mystery. "Slave labour" became the common explanation, and is still considered probable by some today. but how did the accuracy of these pyramids result from the work of slaves?? (e.g., over the 750 foot bases of the Cheops pyramid, the vertical and horizontal lines waver by about only 1/2 inches"! With no optics or surveyor's tools. 2 1/2 football fields! There is no mortar in the stone stucture; These stones were cut at the quarry several hundred miles away, and today it is still difficult to put a knife edge in the joints. This is the work of slaves????) [See, Sarton's, 2 Vol. History of Science.
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