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The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (2 Volume Set) Hardcover – December 15, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0195102345 ISBN-10: 0195102347 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1880 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195102347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195102345
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 4.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,510,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The first English-language, multivolume reference work on ancient Egypt that spans all fields--archaeology, biography, history, language, social history, and more--combined with the imprint of arguably the world's most famous name in reference publishing results in work that, not surprisingly, should find its way to the shelves of virtually all public, academic, and even some secondary-school libraries. The ancient Egyptian civilization is one that has fascinated people from all walks of life for centuries, but it is only now that we have an English-language reference work that does justice to all aspects of this fascinating civilization.

In development since 1994 (according to the preface), The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (OEAE) "provides students, scholars, and the merely curious with the latest information on the civilization . . . tracing its history through the Islamic conquest of 642 CE--although the focus is on dynastic Egypt and its cultural complexity." Editor-in-chief Redford, of Pennsylvania State University, whose credits include being director of the Akhenaten Temple Project, has overseen a work featuring essays from more than 250 contributors from various countries and scholarly pursuits, all with solid academic credentials from institutions such as the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Universitat Heidelberg, University College London, University of Chicago (and its Oriental Institute), and many more. The preface outlines the decisions made on transliteration as well as the particularly thorny problem of a common chronology, as "it would ill serve the pedagogic and synthetic overview purposes of the present work to allow each contributor to decide on his or her own schema."

OEAE features more than 600 scholarly yet eminently readable articles. Many of the lengthier articles are subdivided, each article subdivision with its own author. Sculpture, for example (at 33 pages the longest entry in the set), contains five separate articles: "An Overview," "Royal Sculpture," "Private Sculpture," "Divine Sculpture," and "Wood Sculpture." Each of these is signed by the author and includes its own bibliography. Other entries with similar subdivisions include the 26-page Grammar (divided into "An Overview," "Old Egyptian," "Middle Egyptian," "Late Egyptian," "Demotic," and "Coptic") and the 18-page Myths ("An Overview," "Creation Myths," "Osiris Cycle," "Solar Cycle," and "Lunar Cycle.") The bibliographies concluding every article are themselves virtually worth the price of the set, assembling sources from all languages and time periods. In keeping with the work's attempt to be a synthesis of contemporary scholarship "that would describe in detail where Egyptology stands, as a whole, in the year 2000," it is refreshing to see many bibliographies listing several works bearing publication dates in the 1980s and 1990s.

There are many noteworthy entries in OEAE. Apart from the entries noted above, there are detailed discourses on topics as wide-ranging as Beer, Family, Hairstyles, Intoxication, Marriage and divorce,^B and Social stratification. Of course, there are plenty of entries on topics most closely associated with ancient Egypt: Horus, Isis, Osiris, Pyramids, and Tombs. There are also entries on some of those responsible for famous discoveries, such as Howard Carter, the discoverer of the tomb of Tutankhamun, and on topics of interest to the field of Egyptology as a whole (e.g., Egyptology, interpretation of evidence). There is even an article on Reference works, listing the more prominent titles in the field, divided by area of study. Maps are incorporated with wonderful effect, making one wish there were many more. The entry Theban Necropolis includes a plan depicting the location of various temples in relation to one another. Valley of the Kings has a full-page map showing a more-detailed plan of this famous area.

There are some 400 black-and-white illustrations scattered throughout the text. The majority are photographs, but there are also some line-drawn maps and other drawings. Readers will also find a section of colored plates in volume two. OEAE concludes with a "Directory of Contributors," a "Synoptic Outline of Contents," and a detailed index that indicates page references for main entries in bold type. The "Synoptic Outline" is a particularly worthwhile enhancement, divided by major headings ("Egyptology," "Land and Resources," and "Religion," for example) with subdivisions within those, listing all articles covering the topic.

There is no direct competitor to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, given its interdisciplinary nature. The Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt (Routledge, 1999) focuses primarily on archaeology and does not include some of the sociological articles the present work does (plus, at $250 for a single volume, it is pricey). Margaret Bunson's The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (Facts On File, 1991) and Rosalie David's Handbook to Life in Ancient Egypt^B (Facts On File, 1998) are shorter and less scholarly in tone and more appropriate for secondary schools. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, with articles that should be understandable to an interested layperson, should find a home in most libraries. Though the $475 price tag may give smaller libraries some pause, one is not likely to encounter another work of this magnitude on a subject of such universal interest for some time. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review


"Oxford University Press has published a top-notch subject encyclopedia that is exhaustive and accessible. With over 600 articles in 3 volumes, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt is an example of what a quality encyclopedia should be. The articles cover every aspect of ancient Egyptian life from foreign affairs to burial rites. The bibliographies are impressive....should find a prominent place on academic library reference shelves...larger public libraries will aslo want to give it thoughtful consideration."--Against the Grain


"One is not likely to encounter another work of this magnitude on a subject of such universal interest for some time."--Booklist


"...An invaluable resource. Highly recommended."--Library Journal


"...a comprehensive tool that has no rival in its scope and depth...highly recommended for academic and large public libraries."--John R.M. Lawrence, Lawrence Looks at Books, galegroup.com


Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Shaun Roe on November 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is an A-Z of Egyptology which will act as a definitive reference. Two downsides:
1) There is no narrative introduction to the subject, so this Encyclopedia would complement a 'history', but not replace it
2) The photographs are in black and white and are often bad quality: badly focussed, badly lit.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Merneptah on June 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The most complete source that can be found on the subject of ancient Egypt. It contains everything one would want to know about the civilization in an easy to use fashion. Written by the who's who of egyptology and covering its entire history.
There are a couple problems with the encyclopedia. The first is that most of the pictures are in black and white and of a lower quality. The most frustrating problem is that different aritcles sometimes use different spellings for the same god or person for example, the goddess of Lower Egypt can be found spelled Wadjet, Wadjyt, and in one article she is reffered to as Uto and in the caption to the picture on the same page she is reffered to using Edjo. Each spelling has to be refferenced in the glossary seperately, only showing the the page indicating to that particular spelling and not the rest. This makes it somewhat more difficult to find certain information (familiarize yourself with as many spellings as possible).
These shortcomings are small and aren't enough to lower its score. What remains most improtant is that it is still the best, most up-to-date, and accessible reference work out there (a five all the way).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is filled with everything from timelines, to in depth looks of pharoahs never before have I read a series more complete and interesting. It might be a little expensive but well worth it, I have more knowledge on the subject now than I ever thought possible.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jon W. Reinhardt on December 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a 3 Volume Encyclopedia and does consist of 1880 pages. It is the most authorative book that the non professional person wanting to learn about Egypt can obtain. Some of the other reviews (1 star) do not make sense to me and they must be talking about some other set of books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Linda Bergquist on April 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I have read many books on Ancient Egypt and this one is by far the best and most complete I have found. It covers all of the ancient Gods in detail, including many I had not come across in other publications. It also gives detailed descriptions of all the ancient sites. I highly recommend it!
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