Myself and a few other Post-graduate researchers are currently restarting and organising the Liverpool Egyptology Seminar Series. At the minute we are beginning to invite speakers and sort out the more practical side of it all, however, until then please have a look at :
Throughout my studies in Egyptology, I have always been fascinated with the beliefs and religion of those whose lives are preserved in the artefacts I was focussed on. It is clear that though there was no Dogma or Pharaonic Papacy stating the “official/state” line in Religion, the religious understandings of the society may be inferred from the evidence available. However, as we may only gain an understanding of small groups of people or of the ideology of a specific location/time period, then the larger questions are often left unanswered.
The language of the study of religion is complex and nuanced, this post aims to explain a few of these points so that the conclusions and discussions about the wider view of Ancient Egyptian Religion is more accessible.
Theism and Deism
– The first point to be made is the difference between Theistic and Deistic religions. Theism is based upon the premise that the world has a creator (a god/gods) who interacts with the world in the present. Deism on the other hand presumes that though the world has a creator, that creator does not intervene. Deism is a relatively modern concept (at least when called Deism anyway) first discussed in the 1600s by such writers as David Hume and Thomas Paine.
Within Ancient Egypt, we are focussed on a Theistic religion. Both necessities for this are fulfilled, 1) there is a creator (there are a number of creation myths) and 2) those creators interact with the world, this includes control of nature based on human action as well as direct interaction.
Religions differ a lot, you can have many gods, less gods, more important ones etc etc. Each variant has its own label, here’s my simple explanations of them:-
Polytheism- More than one god (The predominant ancient system and the one functioning in Ancient Egypt)
Monotheism- A single god (Whether or not Akhenaten’s religious reforms constitute monotheism has been a popular question, though not to be concluded here)
Henotheism- The worship of a specific god, whilst accepting the existence of others (this is option two for explaining Akhenaten’s religion)
Pantheism- Everything is God/Divine.
Atheism-There is no god.
Syncretism- The mixing of a number of ideas or systems to create a single one.
The possibility of defining the Ancient Egyptian Belief system is a complicated one. As I have said previously, one may only infer the true bigger picture as in no text do the Ancient Egyptians spell it out for us.
I have decided to have a redesign, reshuffle and rebrand of my blog. Essentially because I have been quite busy and have let it become a bit neglected. So a spring clean was in order- as such I will be aiming to post at least once a week on something, be it Egyptology, research, reading, museum work or any of my other diverse interests. I hope you enjoy it!
And why Petrie’s Sardines? This comes from the story which has been related to a number of Egyptologists (I read about this story in the first year of my UG degree) about the frugal habits of Sir Flinders Petrie, who, it appears was in the habit of burying the tinned supplies from one dig season and returning to them in the next. He would then throw the tins against a wall or rock, if they did not break open, then they were good to eat.
For more on Petrie:
The museum bearing his name- http://www.ucl.ac.uk/museums/petrie
Also have a look at-
Flinders Petrie: A Life in Archaeology by Margaret Drower
Egypt: How a Lost Civilisation was Rediscovered by Joyce Tyldesley
(I have an inkling that it was in this book that I heard the story of Petrie’s tinned food)
So this is my first non-egyptology post on the blog. However, running a half marathon for the first time, I think is worth shouting about.
I have been training for a while now but was very anxious before the race as my last training run showed up a some tightness and pain in my right knee. As such, I had not been running for a week. Onto the raceday then! I met up with some colleagues from university and headed down to the dockside in Liverpool. It was busier than I had expected. We lined up at the start line and then after about ten minutes of waiting the front of the group were off. As I crossed the line I managed to high-five the celebrity starter: the runner and “Record Breakers” presenter Kriss Akabusi. What a start!!
The route went from the dockside up towards princes road via parliament street. It then went around Princes park- bigger than I thought and then onto Sefton Park. Before the run I had the idea that this section would be the hardest and dullest part of the whole run, as during training I have always found that Sefton Park is a boring circuit. However, this was not so! a quarter of the way around I also managed to chat to another person running for Macmillan, called Jim. This gave me a small boost (I bumped into him later in the run also). The route then left sefton park and went towards Otterspool park and onto the promenade. Now it was time for the final long stretch…
Along the final long, long straight I could see the Wheel near the Echo Arena and could feel myself getting closer. It was at this time that my legs (specifically my knees) began to hurt a lot. I looked down at my watch excessively during the 11th mile, trying to work out how quick I needed to be going to get to the finish line in 2hrs. As I passed the 12 mile marker I knew that under 2hrs was possible so tried to dig in and push myself. Towards the finish, I took out my headphones so I could hear the crowd, I had my name printed on my shirt and everyone was cheering me on. This helped no end and made me feel fantastic. I took one more look at my watch 1:58.30……… and RAN! Crossing the line in 1:59.37
The day was topped off by some nice sunshine, a meal at the Clove Hitch and a great match at Anfield with Alex! Even though the distance was a push and did hurt! it was also brilliant and feels amazing to have completed.
In the long run I will be doing much more running, so PLEASE have a look at: https://www.justgiving.com/dan-potter
This is my first post on my brand new, shiny blog. On here I will be posting all sorts of bits about Egyptology and my studies at the University Liverpool- letting you all know what I’m up to and what I have been looking at. There is a fair chance as well that I will also be putting other posts on here that are less Egyptological, but otherwise there is a chance we will all start seeing hieroglyphs everywhere…. it’s happened before!