Akhenaten and the Origins of Monotheism

Hardcover | February 19, 2015

byJames K. Hoffmeier

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Pharaoh Akhenaten, who reigned for seventeen years in the fourteenth century B.C.E, is one of the most intriguing rulers of ancient Egypt. His odd appearance and his preoccupation with worshiping the sun disc Aten have stimulated academic discussion and controversy for more than a century.Despite the numerous books and articles about this enigmatic figure, many questions about Akhenaten and the Atenism religion remain unanswered.In Akhenaten and the Origins of Monotheism, James K. Hoffmeier argues that Akhenaten was not, as is often said, a radical advocating a new religion, but rather a primitivist: that is, one who reaches back to a golden age and emulates it. Akhenaten's inspiration was the Old Kingdom (2650-2400B.C.E.), when the sun-god Re/Atum ruled as the unrivaled head of the Egyptian pantheon. Hoffmeier finds that Akhenaten was a genuine convert to the worship of Aten, the sole creator God, based on the Pharoah's own testimony of a theophany, a divine encounter that launched his monotheistic religiousodyssey. The book also explores the Atenist religion's possible relationship to Israel's religion, offering a close comparison of the hymn to the Aten to Psalm 104, which has been identified by scholars as influenced by the Egyptian hymn.Through a careful reading of key texts, artworks, and archaeological studies, Hoffmeier provides compelling new insights into a religion that predated Moses and Hebrew monotheism, the impact of Atenism on Egyptian religion and politics, and the aftermath of Akhenaten's reign.

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Pharaoh Akhenaten, who reigned for seventeen years in the fourteenth century B.C.E, is one of the most intriguing rulers of ancient Egypt. His odd appearance and his preoccupation with worshiping the sun disc Aten have stimulated academic discussion and controversy for more than a century.Despite the numerous books and articles about t...

James K. Hoffmeier was born and raised in Egypt where his passion for the archaeology of Egypt began. During graduate school, he worked with the Akhenaten Temple Project and participated in excavations (1975-1978). From 1999-2008 he directed excavations in North Sinai and in 2005 he discovered unexpected evidence of Akhenaten's religi...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:312 pages, 9.21 × 6.42 × 1.1 inPublished:February 19, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199792089

ISBN - 13:9780199792085

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Table of Contents

`PrefaceAbbreviationsMap1. When the Sun Ruled Egypt2. Sky and Sun Together3. The Dawn of the Amarna Period4. The Domain of Aten: the Temples of Aten at Karnak5. Finding Aten and Founding Akhet-Aten6. Aten Alone7. Is Atenism Monotheism?8. The Hymns to Aten: A Monotheistic Manifesto9. The Influence of Atenism in Egypt and the Bible?Index

Editorial Reviews

"Hoffmeier does an excellent job placing Akhenaten and his religion in the broader context of the history and religions of the entire ancient Near East. Drawing upon texts, archaeological data (including new evidence from his excavations in the Sinai), architecture, and art, he providesinnovative insight on a subject that has been extensively studied by so many others." --Emily Teeter, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago