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Genesis in Egypt: The Philosophy of Ancient Egyptian Creation Accounts (Yale Egyptological Studies)

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0912532141
ISBN-10: 0912532149
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Product Details

  • Series: Yale Egyptological Studies (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 114 pages
  • Publisher: Yale Egyptological Seminar (December 31, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0912532149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0912532141
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,900,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Allen's writing, whether aimed at a scholarly audience or not, is always readable. Here he discusses the four best-known versions of creation in Egyptian texts: the "Heliopolitan" version focusing on Atum and his family the Ennead; the "Hermopolitan" version with the gods of the primordial chaos, the Ogdoad; the intellectual version of creation that focuses on the powers of thought, speech, and magic, best illustrated by the "Memphite" account that attributes creation to Ptah; and the "Theban" perspective that regards Amun as the underlying cause of all of their actions. He argues that even though these myths arose at different times and different places, they built on one another so as to form a coherent whole. He concludes that Amun is the best example of a single god behind everything. It's the old argument that there was a sort of monotheism within Egyptian religion, in a moderate form that I find more convincing than any other. This short book does not cover all Egyptian creation stories; it leaves out the highly complex Ptolemaic and Roman versions. But it provides a good introduction to the subject and an excellent example of how Egyptian beliefs could develop over time, enriching rather than replacing older traditions.

I don't usually discuss price when reviewing, because really academic books are usually overpriced, and I'm more interested in the content. But the cheapest price for this book on Amazon has varied between $250 and $2000 in the past nine months. Two thousand dollars is far too high for even me to overlook. If you're interested in this subject and can find a reasonable price for the book, get it. If not, you can find an abbreviated treatment of these same creation myths in five of the essays in Allen's book Middle Egyptian, which is much more widely available.
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