The pharaoh Akhenaten, who ruled Egypt in the mid-fourteenth century BCE, has been the subject of more speculation than any other character in Egyptian history. This provocative new biography examines both the real Akhenaten and the myths that have been created around him. It scrutinises the history of the pharaoh and his reign, which has been continually written in Eurocentric terms inapplicable to ancient Egypt, and the archaeology of Akhenaten's capital city, Amarna. It goes on to explore the pharaoh's extraordinary cultural afterlife, and the way he has been invoked to validate everything from psychoanalysis to racial equality to Fascism.
Pharaoh Akhenaten, who reigned for seventeen years in the fourteenth century B.C.E, is one of the most intriguing rulers of ancient Egypt. His odd appearance and his preoccupation with worshiping the sun disc Aten have stimulated academic discussion and controversy for more than a century. Despite the numerous books and articles about this enigmatic figure, many questions about Akhenaten and the Atenism religion remain unanswered. In Akhenaten and the Origins of Monotheism, James K. Hoffmeier argues that Akhenaten was not, as is often said, a radical advocating a new religion, but rather a primitivist: that is, one who reaches back to a golden age and emulates it. Akhenaten's inspiration was the Old Kingdom (2650-2400 B.C.E.), when the sun-god Re/Atum ruled as the unrivaled head of the Egyptian pantheon. Hoffmeier finds that Akhenaten was a genuine convert to the worship of Aten, the sole creator God, based on the Pharoah's own testimony of a theophany, a divine encounter that launched his monotheistic religious odyssey. The book also explores the Atenist religion's possible relationship to Israel's religion, offering a close comparison of the hymn to the Aten to Psalm 104, which has been identified by scholars as influenced by the Egyptian hymn. Through a careful reading of key texts, artworks, and archaeological studies, Hoffmeier provides compelling new insights into a religion that predated Moses and Hebrew monotheism, the impact of Atenism on Egyptian religion and politics, and the aftermath of Akhenaten's reign.
Akhenaten, also known as Amenhotep IV, was king of Egypt during the Eighteenth Dynasty and reigned from 1375 to 1358 B.C. E. Called the "religious revolutionary," he is the earliest known creator of a new religion. The cult he founded broke with Egypt's traditional polytheism and focused its worship on a single deity, the sun god Aten. Erik Hornung, one of the world's preeminent Egyptologists, here offers a concise and accessible account of Akhenaten and his religion of light.Hornung begins with a discussion of the nineteenth-century scholars who laid the foundation for our knowledge of Akhenaten's period and extends to the most recent archaeological finds. He emphasizes that Akhenaten's monotheistic theology represented the first attempt in history to explain the entire natural and human world on the basis of a single principle. "Akhenaten made light the absolute reference point," Hornung writes, "and it is astonishing how clearly and consistently he pursued this concept." Hornung also addresses such topics as the origins of the new religion; pro-found changes in beliefs regarding the afterlife; and the new Egyptian capital at Akhetaten which was devoted to the service of Aten, his prophet Akhenaten, and the latter's family.
Akhenaten was a fascinating, shadowy figure in Egyptian history – archaeologists have discovered attempts to eradicate all traces of his brief reign, but enough remains to tell a remarkable story of incest, heresy, androgyny and a massive cult of personality.Like Albert Camus celebrated Caligula, Dorothy Porter's Akhenaten is an attractive warped megalomaniac who attempted to construct an heretical religion around one Sun God, with himself at the centre.Akhenaten is a novel in verse that captures the obsessive, erotic nature of its central figure. It is a towering achievement.
A visual tour of this magnificent and baffling civilization focuses on more than 250 works of sculpture, architecture, ceramics, jewelry, clothing, tools, and furniture, revealing what these objects can tell us about the art, culture, politics, and religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians. 16,000 first printing.
Release on 1993 | by William J. Murnane,Charles Cornell Van Siclen
Author: William J. Murnane,Charles Cornell Van Siclen
During the fourteenth century B.C., even as Egypt faced troubling challenges to her empire, the most basic structures of society suddenly came under attack from an unexpected quarter - the pharaoh himself. Amenhotep IV (c. 1353-1336 B.C), both god-king and high priest of all the gods in the Nile Valley, acted against all precedent by withdrawing his support from the orthodox religion. In place of Egypt's many traditional divinities he promoted an entirely new form of the sun god. Embodied in a hitherto minor figure in the pantheon, the solar orb ('Aten'), this being was not only worshipped as the life force of all creation, but was regarded as the celestial alter ego of the king, who reigned on earth as the Aten ruled in heaven. When the king decided to break with the past, he changed his name to Akhenaten and established for his god a new cult centre on virgin ground in Middle Egypt. To define the site of Akhet-Aten - 'Horizon of the Aten' - the king commissioned a number of stelae along the city's boundaries. These glorified frontier markers symbolically established the royal presence by means of statues and reliefs depicting the royal family, and preserved for posterity the decrees which had initiated the city's foundation. The fifteen known boundary monuments of Akhenaten were discovered in the two decades that bridged the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but they were incompletely served by the pioneering publications that first made them known. The authors, both well known Egyptologists, worked at El Amarna from 1983 to 1989, making fresh copies of the inscriptions and studying the stelae themselves. The results of their investigations, which are published here, include a definitive new edition of the texts, with modern translations, together with a wide-ranging analysis of the history which inspired and is reflected in these monuments.