Theorizing Religion in Antiquity - Nickolas P. Roubekas

Theorizing Religion in Antiquity - Nickolas P. Roubekas

9. Magic and Religion in Ancient Egypt

Theorizing Religion in Antiquity - Nickolas P. Roubekas

Rita Lucarelli [+-]
University of California at Berkeley
Rita Lucarelli is Assistant Professor of Egyptology at the University of California, Berkley, USA. She specializes in the religions of ancient Egypt, demonology, and magic in the Near East, and the funerary culture and literature of ancient Egypt. She has held positions at the University of Verona, Bonn University, University of Bari, and she was a visiting research scholar at the Italian Academy of Advanced Studies of Columbia University (2009) and at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World of New York University (2012). She is the author of The Book of the Dead of Gatseshen: Ancient Egyptian Funerary Religion in the 10th Century BC (Brill, 2006), and co-editor of Herausgehen am Tage: Gesammelte Schriften zum altägyptischen Totenbuch (with Marcus Müller-Roth and Annik Wüthrich; Harrassowitz Verlag, 2012).


In ancient Egypt there are no emic terms that we could translate as 'religion' or 'magic'. For decades, Egyptologists have been using these terms in contrast to each other when describing the official, more sophisticated religious activities of the temple versus the personal and more limited magical practices as described in spells. The most recent trend in studies of ancient Egyptian magic, instead, considers it as an integral part of religion. In this essay the textual and material evidence of religious and magical practices, rituals and artifacts produced during the long span of the ancient Egyptian history, which stretches from Prehistory through the Pharaonic and until the Graeco-Roman Period, will be discussed in order to illustrate the main theoretical issues related to the ancient Egyptian beliefs and activities concerned with the supernatural and according to an emic perspective on the available sources.

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Lucarelli, Rita. 9. Magic and Religion in Ancient Egypt. Theorizing Religion in Antiquity. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 176-196 May 2019. ISBN 9781781793572. Date accessed: 27 Jun 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.27969. May 2019

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