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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping but frustrating gaps of engagement, August 29, 2009
This review is from: Maat: The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt (Paperback)
First, this book is well worth reading as a fascinating and serious attempt to get to grips with the ancient Egyptian concept and practice of Ma'at - not just as a historical exercise but with a view to showing its relevance to modern life. Maulana Karenga firmly believes that the practice of Ma'at offers credible social and personal advantages in the 21st century, and is very persuasive without trying to over-simplify the issues or overlook the enormous changes in human society since then. It is an openly African-centred approach to Egyptian studies, and as such draws in fresh and compelling insights and analogies.

There are some disappointing aspects to the treatment, though. In numerous places the author seems so keen to promote Ma'atian principles over others that the arguments are overstated or simplified, or straw-man positions set up to represent secular or religious positions. One feels that from time to time the wrong things are being compared! For example, simplistically-stated positions of Christian theology are set up against specific Egyptian texts and found wanting: however, Christian theology has to cope with difficult texts in the Biblical tradition as well, and is a more complex and flexible system of thought than he gives it credit. On a similar vein, Egyptian texts are almost entirely drawn from the Wisdom tradition rather than the whole gamut of Egyptian thought: suitable comparisons would be with the Hebrew wisdom tradition which frequently has quite a similar focus. The differences seem to be exaggerated so as to make Ma'at come out on top more easily!

I would have like to see a greater attempt to tackle "difficult" texts and so present a more rounded picture of Egyptian ethics. For example, the Declarations of Innocence "I have not killed... I have not commanded anyone to kill" are explored at some length. However, the Pharaohs, on one level the exemplary individuals in society, clearly conducted wars and recorded their warlike exploits without (apparently) feeling a contradiction here. A more balanced exploration of the ways in which the Declarations of Innocence could be upheld in apparent conflict with actual lifestyle would have been an excellent addition to the book.

That said, I would repeat my initial thought: the book is well worth reading, being both insightful and provocative as an open-ended invitation to join the Ma'atian journey. The author would, I believe, much rather people read and engaged with the book - even if they felt it lacking in places - than overlooked it.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Significant Books on Amazon!!!!!!!, July 9, 2008
This review is from: Maat: The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt (Paperback)
I literally have hundreds of books many of which are great but this book honestly needs ten stars. I get quivers when I think about the pain staking scholarship that went into this book. This book travels into domains unventured. It inaugurates a new 4th phase of Egyptology. It left the authority of Egyptology saying we have alot to learn from traditional African cultures, signing the praises of Karenga. Ironically Karenga is like the teacher and Assmann the authority who is made to look like the student as his works are corrected. So many people need this book. Spirituality, Philosophy, History, Culture and revealing knowledge that has been locked away for millenniums. Diffinetly for all those who wish to be conscious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Scholarship, October 4, 2013
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This review is from: Maat: The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt (Paperback)
One of the most important books I've read, filled with good scholarship: which articulates the breadth of understanding and valuation, the ancient Egyptians had for justice and truth. What impressed me most, in learning about the ancient Egyptian religious orientation towards Maat: is how large their understanding was towards Justice, as a way of being.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Knowledge, October 26, 2012
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This review is from: Maat: The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt (Paperback)
Something for truth seekers and those who study all religion. Good information about morality. "Exposing the truth, we have been lied to."
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5.0 out of 5 stars "A modern interpretation of Ancient principals", December 5, 2012
By 
Hrw "Hrw" (Pennsylvania) - See all my reviews
This is the modern mans interpretation of these Ancient principals not so that it can remain Ancient, but can be applied to these modern times.It answers critical questions any reader may have about moral applications in these immoral times. This is what I use everyday to quide me righteously in these times.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent book for any one interested in the Africian system ..., August 17, 2014
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This is an excellent book for any one interested in the Africian
system of Maat. By reading this work and understanding the research, you will begin to
understand how man has step away from his ethical responsibilities to Nature,God,and
his Fellow Man. It all started in Africa Not Europe or Asia.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAAT: Manifesting Advanced Afrikan Truth, March 26, 2012
By 
The Sesh (Waset, Kamit) - See all my reviews
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This is the book we have been waiting for. It is the first book to truly unravel the spiritual philosophy of Ancient Kemet. Most books before this were Eurocentric babble attempting to downplay the Kemetian legacy in order to reinforce Eurocentric myths of supremacy; others attribute Kemetian genius to Asiatics and/or extraterrestrial aliens; still others attempt to validate Kemetian philosophy by looking at it from a Jewish or Indian lens. Many of those who seek to rejuvenate Kemet for the world and attempt to speak on Kemet do not used the Kemetian texts sufficiently to illustrate their point.

Karenga does none of that nonsense. His exploration of Kemetian spiritual philosophy is unparallel as he focuses primarily on the actual ancient texts, meanwhile correcting the current Egyptologists' bias views. Karenga exposes the primary force behind Kemetian spiritual philosophy as Maat, the feminine deification of truth, goodness, and balance. In addition, he shows the familial relationship between Kemetian ontology and that of other Afrikan spiritual systems, though this could have been more thoroughly explored.

This text is without doubt academic in nature, yet it has the making of a philosophically spiritual manual as well. Unlike most other texts that take a spiritual stance on Kemet, Karenga at no point forces the reader to rely on his word, but relentlessly points the reader to the text, even when he is agreeing or disagreeing with another scholar.

One thing that Karenga could have done better (though we have to acknowledge that he could not do everything, considering the monumentality of this work of single-handedly resurrecting the TRUE legacy of Kemetian philosophy)is include the medunetcher/hieroglyph form of more texts that he references in English and transliteration, simply so that the reader can become familiar with the concepts using the same symbolic imagery that the Ancient Afrikans of Kemet used for written communication. There is an underated power in imagery. That is also why I'm curious to know why the cover of the book did not depict an actual photograph of original Kemetian art. The copy used was not 100% accurate to the actual relief of Seti presenting Maat and would have been more effective had Dr. Karenga used an original ancient depiction that had the typical stylized mahogany-brown or dark brown color the Kemetians most often used to depict themselves. This would visually emphasize the Afrikan nature of Kemet for all those who wish to attribute Kemet to the sand colored Asiatics who presently control the nation.

Though this book is arguably the best book on Kemet available, it remains only a foundation to build on. We need African-centered scholars to scientifically renew the spiritual system of the Nile Valley by specifically exploring other netcheru such as Amen-Ra, Het-Heru, Ausar; the Nubian spiritual system; and the relationship other Afrikans have with Nile spirituality. We also need African-centered scholars knowledgeable of Medunetcher to spread its use in the global Black community, if only if in key words. We all know how much Diasporic Afrikans love to add our own words and/or redefine the words of the language of the oppressor--imagine if we actually used medunetcher in this creolization process on a conscious level! It could be as simple as salutations, religous terminology, etc. It is a beginning.

All this being said, I cannot thank Dr. Karenga enough for what he has achieved not just for himself, but for the Afrikan race and humanity as a whole by DOING MAAT and bringing forth the truth about the wisdom of the Ancient Afrikans of the Nile that laid the foundation for world civilization. How blessed am I, as a relatively young man, to have elders like Dr. Karenga. Black people, our elders have finally returned to lead us and not hand us over to other people to lead us and wonder why we can't function correctly.

Dr. Karenga, if you are reading this, know that we are building an eternal pyramid for you in our hearts; that you have restored Maat in a way that Ahmose the Great had and that Piankhi himself, and other great egungun, are weeping with pride for our people because of your restoration. You are like Hatshepsut who does magnificence not out of boasting but out of love for Amen-Ra!

For the restoration of MAAT: Manifesting Advanced Afrikan Truth!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything about Maat, December 23, 2010
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This review is from: Maat: The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt (Paperback)
This is an amazing book about Maat. It goes into real detail about Maat,leaving no stone unturned. If you want to truly study Maat--this is the book to get. It's a little long but very informative. It's worth the purchase.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Books, July 9, 2008
This is one of the most sigificant books in millenniums. Please have faith in what I am saying this book is before its time!!!!!!!!!
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Maat: The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt
Maat: The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt by Maulana Karenga (Paperback - 2006)
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