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Theological Principles of Egyptian Religion


Vincent A. Tobin

This study approaches the religion of ancient Egypt from a theological stance, treating the mythic corpus of Egypt not as a mere collection of legends and traditions about the gods, but rather as a carefully constructed system of mythic symbolism. The author demonstrates that the mythic system of ancient Egypt was an articulation of a highly sophisticated and intellectual theological insight into the nature of the universe, an insight which produced an integrated perception of reality and expressed the basic order and unity apparent to the Egyptian mind in all levels of existence. The result is a work which shows Egyptian religion as a unified statement about the universe rather than a haphazard mass of mythic material.

«This study of Egyptian religion is fascinating. Tobin has addressed the subject so as to bring it within range of modern understanding. Especially discerning is the description of myth and cult, and the parts they played in shaping piety. The ancient Egyptian religious genius springs into articulate view. The ways of a scholar are evident here, making available to readers the fruit of thoughtful research.» (Gordon MacDermid, President Atlantic School of Theology)
«This is an excellent attempt at a systematic theology of Egyptian religion, seeking to be true both to the distinctive characteristics of the Egyptian experience, and to the need for a consistent account in modern terms. To have managed this clearly and comprehensively in so condensed a space is some achievement.» (N. Wyatt, The Society for Old Testament Study)
«The strength of Tobin's work lies in his concentration upon what he considers to be the central experience of the Egyptians: their monistic and optimistic at-homeness in a benevolent an ordered universe. In working out this central idea, he enhances the crucial role of 'ma'at'. This emphasis provides a fresh and original approach to Egyptian religion, since this element has been overlooked by many scholars.» (Sarah Israelit-Groll, Studies in Religion)