Not since Siegfried Morenz's Egyptian Religion (1973) has such a systematic effort on the topic been attempted. An independent scholar with a background in journalism, Najovits has based his book on careful reading and thorough analyses, using all the best scholarship and translations of Egyptian sources, with broader results than Claude Traunecker in the Gods of Egypt
(CH, Apr '02). Beginning with the transition out of Neolithic 'agro-sedentary society' along the Nile with its need to give expression in writing, architecture, and art, Najovits identifies and compares those religious concepts for which the peculiar, nearly isolated Egyptian landscape with its totemic elements allowed the development of profound metaphors of meaning. He opposes all 'loonies of Egyptomania,' and in volume 2 gives a full narrative of how the contexts discussed in the first volume yield diverse consequences. ...This volume could be valuable on many academic levels for those studying the origin and history of religion and of Egypt. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above. C.C. Smith, Emeritus, University of Wisconsin, River Falls. --CHOICE February 2004
Najovits provides a remarkably evenhanded introductory survey of Egypt.... Najovits contends that scholarly focus on ancient Greece and Rome and on Christianity and Judaism has tended to obscure Egyptian contributions to the development of culture. Egyptian religion was highly original, he says: 'Never before had such an elaborate religion and such an all-inclusive mythology been invented.' As to its lasting contributions, the Egyptians, he says, invented the belief that the body could be preserved and stay alive after death. They were also, he claims, the first monotheistic culture, although monotheism waxed and waned under various pharaohs. They developed a belief in a savior god, Osiris, whose resurrection led to a belief in the afterlife. Najovits even concludes that the holy family of Osiris, Isis and Horus offers the mythological foundations upon which later cultures constructed their own foundational holy families (e.g., Jesus, Mary and Joseph). Egypt also provided examples of early jurisprudence and political systems, primarily in its extensive legal codes and its focus on kingship. On balance, Najovits offers a detailed and original historical survey of Egypt as a cradle of civilization. --Publishers Weekly: July 21, 2003
A French specialist in systems of religious belief recounts his exploration of the Egyptian patrimony society from 3100 BC to AD 395. The first volume looked at the matrix from which the Egyptian religion, political system, and contexts emerged. This, the second volume, traces how Egyptians developed distinctive features to address their own concerns. --(c)2003 Book News, Inc.
About the Author
Simson Najovits is a former Editor-in-Chief of Radio France International in Paris, where he wrote and broadcast on lifestyles, politics and religion. His essays, articles, stories an poems have been published in the United States and Canada. He is a winner of Canada Arts Council and Quebec Arts Council awards. Educated at Concordia University, he is a specialist of systems of religious beliefs. In this, his first American book, he shares the inexhaustible pleasure of exploring the Egyptian patrimony and capturing the glow of ancient Egyptian society.