The Egyptian Religion Essay Research Paper The

The Egyptian Religion Essay, Research Paper

The Egyptian Religion

The Egyptians had a very influential religion that can be analyzed using

the five elements of religion. The characteristics of the Ancient Egyptian’s

religion can be divided into the five elements of religion: authority, faith,

rituals, moral code, and concept of the deity.

First, the authority of the Egyptian religion. The main authority of

the Egyptian religion was the Pharaoh, he had divine right over the people and

was considered a god. Also, he could change the religion any way he wanted, for

example in the 14th century BC Akhenaton, the Pharaoh outlawed all gods but Aton,

who was the sun god, and this became the first monotheistic religion in history,

but it was short lived, for when he died the new Pharaoh overruled the law and

restored the other gods. The Egyptians Sacred literature was the ?Book of the

Dead? which consisted of 42 ?negative confessions? , spells and prayers. Here

is a excerpts from the ?Book of the Dead?

1. I have not acted sinfully toward me 2. I have not oppressed the members of my

family 3. I have not done wrong instead of what is right 4. I have known no

worthless folk (Encarta ?96)

Their were also what we would call “Priests” who sold the people “magical” items

that they said would ensure the dead people a way into heaven. Therefore, the

authority of the Egyptian religion was controlled heavily by the government.

Second, the Egyptians Faith was an important characteristic of their

religion. First, they believed that the Pharaoh was a god, and what he spoke

became law. The Egyptians worshipped almost every form of life, the worshipped

trees, water, animals, and even vegetables. The Egyptians also believed that a

person had 2 souls, the ba and the ka, which left the body at death and then

returned later to the body. The Egyptians believed that mummification make sure

the ba and the ka would find the body when they returned to the body to

transport it to the underworld. The Egyptians also believed that they were the ?

cattle of the gods’, and were controlled by them. They also believed that the

gods owned all the land, so they sold all their crops at the temples.

Furthermore, their idea of heaven was that it was in the milky way, that stood

for a fertile Nile and where good crops grew every year. Their belief in a hell

was that the soul was devoured by a savage animal called the ?Devourer of Souls’

and then thrown into a pit of fire. The Egyptians believed that what was placed

in a person’s tomb was what they would have in the afterlife, so they stocked

their tombs full of items, such as war chariots, tables, chairs, and for the

king, his throne. Their were even gods and goddesses for Ancient Egyptian cites.

Also, the Egyptians believed that no mater what the Pharaoh did, he was

entitled to a afterlife. The Egyptians spent most of their lives preparing for

the afterlife and a one Egyptologist put it:

The dead man is at one and the same time in heaven, in the god’s boat, under the

earth, tilling the Elysian fields, and in his tomb enjoying his victuals (Casson


They also believed that the dead had to be buried on the west side of the Nile,

since the sun ?died’ in the west. When a person reached judgment day, they had

to do a ?negative confession’ to 42 sins, each with their own judge, and after

that Anibus then proceeded to weigh the person’s heart against a feather, the

heart had to be lighter than the feather for the person to be admitted to heaven.

Also, Thoth was their watching over the weighing. The Egyptians believed that

setting of the sun was Nut, goddess of the sky, devouring it and in the morning

would give birth to it again. Furthermore, the Egyptian creation myth said that

in the beginning their was only the ocean, then Ptah, the Lord of Truth who made

an egg, that hatched and made the moon and sun, from the sun came Amon-Ra, the

sun god from him came air, from the air, the earth, from the earth, the Nile and

from the Nile Egypt, which is how Egypt got the nickname ?the gift of the Nile?.

Therefore the characteristics of the Egyptian faith are very strict.

The Egyptians performed many rituals that characterize their religion.

First, when a person died, their body was mummified, the ?mumifier’ was

performing a ritual. Second, the Egyptians would practice reading the Book of

the Dead so that they would be ready to recite it during the Judgment of the

Dead. Also, the Egyptians also had hymns, here is an example of one to the sun

god, Re:

How beautiful it is when thou arisest on the horizon and lightenest the Two

Lands with thy rays (Casson 80).

In the morning the Pharaoh and would rise, praying to Ra. and in temples the

people would sing also:

Hail to thee, Ra, Lord of Truth whose shrine is hidden, Lord of gods; the

creator in his boat: at whose command the gods were made: Atum, maker of men:

supporting their words, giving them life.

Lord of wisdom whose precepts are wise: at whose pleasure the Nile overflows:

Lord of mercy most loving: at whose coming men live: opener of every eye:

proceeding from the firmament: causer of pleasure and light: at whose goodness

the gods rejoice (Evans ).

These are the Rituals that make up the Egyptian Religion.

The Egyptian Moral code is made up of the Book of the Dead, a book that

is a list of 42 ?Negative confessions’, hymns and also prayers. The Book of the

Dead has forty-two negative sins, here are some of the major ones: 1. I have not

acted sinfully toward men 13. I have not inflicted pain. . . . 16. I have not

committed murder 27. I have not added weights to the scales 46. I have not spoke

treasonably about the king (

The Egyptian moral code also acted as their code of law since it

religion/government was so intertwined, and almost one. In conclusion, the

Egyptian moral code is very strict and is make up of ?negative confessions’.

The Egyptians were polytheistic, although for a short period of time

were monotheistic. Some of their major gods were: Isis; wife of Osiris, Re; sun

god of Heliopolis, Anibis, jackal god of mummification, Osiris; god of earth,

and Thoth; god of wisdom. Furthermore, the Pharaoh of the time decided what

gods their were, and at one time Akhenaton banned all gods and created Aton: It

originally represented the light and heat of the sun. His name appeared

frequently in texts, and used in expressions, the most common was [ All that

Aten encompasses ]


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