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  You are in: Home > Theology & Religion > The Ancient Egyptians  

The Ancient Egyptians

In the series:
Religious Beliefs & Practices

Rosalie David

Rosalie David is Reader in Egyptology at the University of Manchester, and Keeper of Egyptology at the Manchester University Museum. She lectures on Ancient Egyptian religion, and her research has included the scientific investigation of Egyptian mummies and a study of Egyptian temple ritual. She is the author of over twenty books on Egyptology.


This book traces the evolution of religious beliefs and practices within the historical and political contexts of the main periods of Egypt's civilization. It shows how historical and political events influenced state cults, temple rituals and funerary practices, and also emphasizes how religion permeated most aspects of everyday life, including law, medicine and education. The book also describes how some religious customs have even survived, in different forms, until the present day.

Contains extensive bibliographies of primary and secondary sources.

List of Maps, Figures and Plates
Maps 1 and 2
Preface Acknowledgments

Part I A Survey of the Historical Development of Religion in Ancient Egypt


The Predynastic and Early Dynastic communities
The Predynastic societies
The Dynastic Race
The political and social organisation of the Naqada II communities
The Unification of Egypt
The political organisation of the Early Dynastic period
Religious beliefs and practices during the Predynastic and Early Dynastic Periods
The contribution of the Archaic Period

2 The Old Kingdom

Organisation of the society
Religious organisation
The cult of Re‘
The Wisdom Literature
The funerary beliefs and customs of the Old Kingdom
The Pyramid Texts
The tombs of the nobility
Tomb art – the underlying principles
The decline of the Old Kingdom

3 The First Intermediate Period and the Middle Kingdom
Collapse of the society
Restoration of political order
The Middle Kingdom
Religious developments in Dynasties 11 and 12
Royal funerary monuments of Dynasties 11 and 12
The royal jewellery of the Middle Kingdom
A pyramid workmen’s village
Osiris and the democratisation of funerary beliefs
The tombs of the nobles during the First Intermediate Period and the Middle Kingdom
Tomb equipment and furniture

4 The New Kingdom
The period of Hyksos rule
The role of Amen-Re‘ (Amun)
The Egyptian temple
The priesthood
The role of religion in education
The role of religion in the law
The role of religion in medicine
Household gods and personal piety
The relationship between Egyptian and foreign cults and deities
Funerary beliefs and practices in the New Kingdom
The court of Amenophis III
History of the Aten
Aspects of Atenism
The counter-revolution

5 Some contributions made by Egyptian religion to other religions

Part II Primary Sources for the Study of Egyptian Religion
Appendix A1 Primary sources: religious texts and archaeological bibliography
Appendix A2 Selected passages from Egyptian religious literature
Appendix B A selective list of major religious sites in Egypt

Part III Secondary Sources for the Study of Egyptian Religion
Appendix C Secondary sources and additional bibliography dealing with specific aspects and
Appendix D A chronological table of Egyptian history


“An excellent reference for students and experts in the field of Egyptology.” http//

“A readable inroduction to the main themes – creation myths and solar beliefs, priesthood and ritual, Osiris and the theology of kingship, architecture and iconongraphy – set into the context of Egyptian history as it develops over two and a half millennia.” The Expository Times


Publication Details

Paperback ISBN:
Page Extent / Format:
248 pp. / 216 x 138 mm
Release Date:
May 1998
  Illustrated:   Sixteen-page plate section and other illustrations
Paperback Price:
£14.95 / $24.95

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