Ancient Egyptian Influence On Modern Religion

3632 words - 15 pages

Egypt is considered the birthplace of many world religions. It contains some of the oldest religious artifacts, texts, and art that can be traced to modern religions. Signs of early Egyptian religion date back to the Predynastic period, beginning with evidence of polytheistic worship. Many scholars have researched the development of Ancient Egyptian religion over the centuries and have studied the direct correlation between it and the modern religions of Judaism and Christianity. Questions arise as to whe Judaism developed because of social and political conditions of Ancient Egypt or rather through conscious adaptation of Egyptian stories, values, and traditions. Was it through divine inspiration that the faiths formed, or was it simply a rehash of Egyptian beliefs? Through examination of ancient Egyptian religious texts, symbolic art, and prominent historical figures, it becomes obvious that ancient Egyptian religion is the predecessor of modern Judaism and Christianity.
Ancient Egyptian religion lasted more than 3,000 years and greatly transformed in the early Dynastic period around 3,000 B.C. with the unification of Egypt and the development of writing. According to history, Ancient Egyptian religion was largely polytheistic, having over two thousand gods and goddesses and ever evolving over the centuries. Egyptians did not have a word for religion because it was an intricate and part of everyday life for Egyptians. Over time, Egyptian religion changed and certain gods became more significant than others as the pharaoh in power decided. Some of the most significant gods were Amun, Ra, Ptah, Isis, Osiris, and Horus. Amun was the creator god, the father of the pharaohs and was often represented as a man. Ra was the god of sun and judgment, often depicted with a hawk-head and a sun disk around it. He was viewed as the master of life and associated with renewal. Ptah was also a creator god who built the boats that carried the souls of the dead into the Underworld. Osiris was the ruler of the Underworld and husband to Isis, the goddess of fertility and the ideal wife. Isis’ song, Horus, was the god of the sky and depicted with a hawk-like head often portrayed with a double crown. These deities were worshipped daily by the Egyptians in temples built by the ruling pharaoh and his priests. The pharaoh was viewed as the intermediary between the deities and his people. Through his kingship and divine power, he was expected to maintain universal peace and order. Egyptians also underwent extensive and excessive processes to preserve their souls after death through tombs, mummification, and offerings to the gods for preservation of the deceased bodies (“Ancient Egyptian Religion”). The concept of life after death is rooted in ancient Egyptian religion where funerary processes and burial rituals were fundamental and crucial to an afterlife.
Egypt was one of the first countries to convert to Christianity in 43 A.D. From the persecution of...

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