Ägyptische Religionby Siegfried Morenz

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<ul><li><p>Egypt Exploration Society</p><p>gyptische Religion by Siegfried MorenzReview by: J. Gwyn GriffithsThe Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 47 (Dec., 1961), pp. 156-157Published by: Egypt Exploration SocietyStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3855880 .Accessed: 28/06/2014 16:40</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p><p> .</p><p>Egypt Exploration Society is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Journalof Egyptian Archaeology.</p><p>http://www.jstor.org </p><p>This content downloaded from 185.31.194.106 on Sat, 28 Jun 2014 16:40:02 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=eeshttp://www.jstor.org/stable/3855880?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>(I56) </p><p>REVIEWS </p><p>Agyptische Religion. By SIEGFRIED MORENZ. Die Religionen der Menschheit, ed. C. M. Schroder, Bd. 8. Stuttgart, I960. Pp. xvi+3o9. DM. 27. Professor Morenz, who holds the chair of Egyptology and of Hellenistic Religions at the Karl-Marx </p><p>University of Leipzig, is already well known to students of Egyptian religion both for his numerous studies in learned journals and for his books, among which are Die ieGeschichte von Joseph dem Zimmermann, Der Gott auf der Blume (with J. Schubert), and Heilige Schriften. As an Egyptologist and Coptic scholar who has also been trained in the classics and in theology, he comes to his present task with a formidable equip- ment, and he has succeeded in providing a fully documented introduction to Egyptian religion in which the results of his own recent researches have been embodied as well as those of many other scholars (in several cases in studies as yet unpublished). </p><p>Morenz begins by making appreciative references to the books of Erman, Kees, Bonnet, and others; here it is only to be regretted that he omits the name of Sethe, whose Urgeschichte remains an important work, although few are now prepared to accept its conclusions in toto even if in singulis. Still, he makes a courteous bow to Sethe on p. x, and he refers several times to this work, so that the omission is perhaps not intentional. Morenz thus describes his own approach (if the reviewer may freely translate): </p><p>'I have tried to comprehend Egyptian religion as the belief of the Egyptians. Political, economic, and social events have been for me, if I may speak with Goethe, only the "conditions under which the pheno- mena appear". It appeared to me, however, that the centre of the phenomena was the relation between man and deity. Therefore I begin with expositions of the gods and their circles of worshippers, and then I present researches concerning the way in which the gods operate and the sway in which men behave.' </p><p>The second sentence of this quotation is significant in its indication of a swing away from an emphasis which has been strong in previous works by other scholars. Morenz reiterates it after a discussion of sources, saying that he has ordered his material according to the phenomena themselves and not in a sequence of historical development. His phenomenological plan, as he points out, has the advantage that the atchoice, arrangement, and interpretation of the material are decided by aspects of the ad subject itself. To make up for the inevitable lack of historical perspective in such a treatment he adds at the end a time-chart indicating the main developments and the related sources. </p><p>It should not be inferred from this that the book is rigidly 'phenomenological' in the sense which the word bears in relation to a school of writers on comparative religion, still less in the philosophical sense. A striving after a psychological interpretation there certainly is, and a search for 'inner meaning' of doctrines, myths, and rites; but these qualities are not presumably the monopoly of the school in question, although G. van der Leeuw and other members of it have undoubtedly exercised a beneficent influence in the matter. </p><p>In a brief but illuminating chapter on 'the religious origin of Egyptian culture' Morenz finds in religion the roots of Egyptian art, literature, drama, medicine, astronomy, geography (the earliest maps are those of the afterworld), and linguistics; physics and philosophy he sees permanently embedded in the matrix of </p><p>religion and thus powerless to develop in their own right; history revolves around the God-King, and so do </p><p>conceptions of government and administration, a consideration that reminds the author that the Egyptians had no word for 'state', just as they had none for 'religion' itself; and, finally, law is rooted in religion: compare the title 'Priests of Macat', ascribed to the viziers in their juridical role. In the growth of all these activities, with the exception of physics and philosophy, a progressive secularization is observed. But the </p><p>all-pervading influence of the religious outlook means that a knowledge of it is indispensable for the under- </p><p>standing of any aspect of ancient Egyptian life. Morenz is eager to supply a corrective to the view, popular ever since it was propounded by Xenophanes, that it was man who created God in his own image. While </p><p>admitting that the view has some validity with regard to the form and function of the gods (e.g. the judge- ment of the dead must derive its external pattern from jurisdiction empirically observed), yet he finds </p><p>This content downloaded from 185.31.194.106 on Sat, 28 Jun 2014 16:40:02 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>REVIEWS 157 </p><p>religion to be the basically determining factor: it is the society bound together by religion, in other words it is the all-presence of God in the world of men, that determines the nascent phases of culture. </p><p>If Morenz would thus appear to be turning the tables on any political or economic determinism, his interpretation is far from being an attempt to consider religion in a vacuum. He lays stress, for instance, in his third chapter and elsewhere on the fact that Egyptian religion was a 'national religion', adding the caveat (p. 44, n. i) that the ancient Egyptians were scarcely at any time a nation in the modern sense. That they became conscious of being a nation among other nations is, however, unquestionable, and there seems no valid reason for withholding the term 'nation' from them, nor indeed for not applying the term 'nationalism' to obvious manifestations of their national feeling during, for example, the periods of Persian domination; one must, at the same time, be wary of projecting modern doctrines about nationhood into the ancient world. </p><p>Of especial value among the many riches of this book are the discussions of topics which Morenz has investigated with some elaboration in previous studies. These include the themes of divine election (p. 1 I2), holy writs (chapter X), the Egyptian derivation of the Orphic idea of the cosmic egg (p. 259), the significance of the divine triads (pp. I50 ff.), the role of fate (pp. 69 ff.), and several aspects of the interpretatio Graeca (chapter XI). The Greek Isis-Aretalogies are denied an Egyptian original (p. 264), and here Dr. Dieter Miiller's Agypten und die griechischen Isis-Aretalogien is relied on, a painstaking piece of work which the present reviewer has been privileged to see in proof. The possible influence of Egyptian ideas on the formal aspects of Christian Trinitarianism (pp. 270 f.) is an exciting theme which Morenz has been, perhaps, somewhat bold in pressing. His argument, nevertheless, is carefully constructed and it is hoped that his thesis will receive the attention it deserves. J. GWYN GRIFFITHS </p><p>Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt. By R. T. RUNDLE CLARK. London, I959. 8vo. Pp. 292. Pls. I8. Line drawings 40. Chart of Religious Symbols. Map. Price 30s. This book is one of a series on religions which is entitled Myth and Man. It is thus addressed to the non- </p><p>specialist, although in this case that term must inevitably tend to mean non-Egyptologist, for the book will undoubtedly be read by students of religion who have no Egyptian, the more so in that the religion of Ancient Egypt still exercises a perennial attraction for many persons. </p><p>The religion of Ancient Egypt is a vast and still comparatively unworked field. Naturally a book of this kind must be highly selective if it is to be more than a catalogue. The author has chosen to treat of the cosmogonical schemes originating in the Old Kingdom and in the time of the First Intermediate Period, and then of the development of the religion of Osiris, rounding off his work with some detailed myths con- nected with these same themes. The worship of Amun as a cosmic deity from the Middle Kingdom onwards and the Aten-heresy are both ignored. </p><p>The analogy of modern religions suggests, and the researches of modern psychologists, especially Jung, make possible of investigation, the idea that what the texts and pictures show us of the religion of Ancient Egypt is not to be interpreted literally but in a psychological sense symbolically. This must not be thought of as a return to the nonsense of the days before the hieroglyphs could be read, but as an intelligent use of the information now available about the human mind in general and the primitive mind in particular. </p><p>The present book seeks to use such methods and is, in consequence, refreshingly different from the average book on Egyptian religion. The author warns the reader that his work is a personal interpretation. He endeavours to show that the religion with which he is dealing is not without a logic of its own, although one which, coming as it does from the days before the development of philosophy, is strange to us. In a way the book is a pioneer investigation, pointing to a road by which it may ultimately be possible to understand what the religion of Ancient Egypt meant to the Egyptians themselves and how it appeared to them. </p><p>Throughout it has been sought to make the Egyptians speak for themselves by quoting from the original texts, especially the Pyramid Texts and the Coffin Texts. In itself this is an excellent and irreproachable method. In his preface, however, the author uses the following words: 'The moving rhetoric of the hymns and prayers cannot be conveyed in flat literal translation.... But the rhetoric and underlying excitement may be the most important thing that should be expressed, at least to the non-specialist reader. Hence there is need to paraphrase in some places; in others excessive caution leads to complete misunderstanding.' Now this is a most dangerous practice. If the results of anthropology and psychology are to be applied to Egyptian religious texts, the translations must be as exact as possible, especially when they are to be used </p><p>REVIEWS 157 </p><p>religion to be the basically determining factor: it is the society bound together by religion, in other words it is the all-presence of God in the world of men, that determines the nascent phases of culture. </p><p>If Morenz would thus appear to be turning the tables on any political or economic determinism, his interpretation is far from being an attempt to consider religion in a vacuum. He lays stress, for instance, in his third chapter and elsewhere on the fact that Egyptian religion was a 'national religion', adding the caveat (p. 44, n. i) that the ancient Egyptians were scarcely at any time a nation in the modern sense. That they became conscious of being a nation among other nations is, however, unquestionable, and there seems no valid reason for withholding the term 'nation' from them, nor indeed for not applying the term 'nationalism' to obvious manifestations of their national feeling during, for example, the periods of Persian domination; one must, at the same time, be wary of projecting modern doctrines about nationhood into the ancient world. </p><p>Of especial value among the many riches of this book are the discussions of topics which Morenz has investigated with some elaboration in previous studies. These include the themes of divine election (p. 1 I2), holy writs (chapter X), the Egyptian derivation of the Orphic idea of the cosmic egg (p. 259), the significance of the divine triads (pp. I50 ff.), the role of fate (pp. 69 ff.), and several aspects of the interpretatio Graeca (chapter XI). The Greek Isis-Aretalogies are denied an Egyptian original (p. 264), and here Dr. Dieter Miiller's Agypten und die griechischen Isis-Aretalogien is relied on, a painstaking piece of work which the present reviewer has been privileged to see in proof. The possible influence of Egyptian ideas on the formal aspects of Christian Trinitarianism (pp. 270 f.) is an exciting theme which Morenz has been, perhaps, somewhat bold in pressing. His argument, nevertheless, is carefully constructed and it is hoped that his thesis will receive the attention it deserves. J. GWYN GRIFFITHS </p><p>Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt. By R. T. RUNDLE CLARK. London, I959. 8vo. Pp. 292. Pls. I8. Line drawings 40. Chart of Religious Symbols. Map. Price 30s. This book is one of a series on religions which is entitled Myth and Man. It is thus addressed to the non- </p><p>specialist, although in this case that term must inevitably tend to mean non-Egyptologist, for the book will undoubtedly be read by students of religion who have no Egyptian, the more so in that the religion of Ancient Egypt still exercises a perennial attraction for many persons. </p><p>The religion of Ancient Egypt is a vast and still comparatively unworked field. Naturally a book of this kind must be highly selective if it is to be more than a catalogue. The author has chosen to treat of the cosmogonical schemes originating in the Old Kingdom and in the time of the First Intermediate Period, and then of the development of the religion of Osiris, rounding off his work with some detailed myths con- nected with these same themes. The worship of Amun as a cosmic deity from the Middle Kingdom onwards and the Aten-heresy are both ignored. </p><p>The analogy of modern religions suggests, and the researches of modern psychologists, especially Jung, make possible of investigation, the idea that what the texts and pictures show us of the religion of Ancient Egypt is not to be interpreted literally but in a psychological sense symbolically. This must not be thought of as a return to the nonsense of the days before the hieroglyphs could be read, but as an intelligent use of the information now available about the human mind in general and the primi...</p></li></ul>

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