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Egyptian Religion

(2,052 words)

Author(s): Assmann, Jan
1. The Gods and Mythology 1.1. Names and Forms In Egyptian religion the combination of a theistic idea of God with a theriomorphic form (also with mixed forms) is typical. In the construction of the divine identity, there is thus a multiplicity that comes to expression in many names and forms. Splitting the major gods into local forms and fusing the gods together (Syncretism) are contradictory tendencies. Alongside 25–30 major deities, among whom the sun god and the equally ranked state god Amon-Re are always chief, there are a large but indefinite number of le…

Maʿat

(461 words)

Author(s): Assmann, Jan
[German Version] The Egyptian concept of “ maʿat” carries the basic meanings of “right” and “justice,” and by extension “truth” and “order.” It relates to a principle of solidarity that fosters harmony among humans and, applied to the cosmos, guarantees the success of the “solar cycle” and thus the continued existence of the world. Maʿat is something that is “spoken” (truth) and “done” (justice). An Egyptian “definition” of maʿat reads as follows: “The reward of the doer is that which is done for him. God deems this to be maʿat” (Helck, 29). The motif of “acting for each other” is e…

Memory

(1,437 words)

Author(s): Assmann, Jan | Schröter, Jens | Figal, Günter
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. Philosophy I. Religious Studies Memory, in the present context, is the ability to store motor skills, experiences, and learned materialover longer periods; remembrance on the other hand has to do with the use of memory. Individual memory is already ¶ socially conditioned (through language, socialization, cultural setting) and thus has a communicative character. Institutionalization (e.g. feasts, school) and objectivization (e.g. rites [Rite and ritual], texts) serve to stabilize the co…

Religion

(13,714 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Assmann, Jan (Heidelberg) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Colpe, Carsten (Berlin) | Et al.
I. Introduction [German version] A. Definition of the concept 'Religion', the substantive for describing the religious, denotes a system of common practices, individual ideas about faith, codified norms and examples of theological exegesis whose validity is derived chiefly from an authoritative principle or being. For the academic study of religion, conversely, the word is a purely heuristic category in which those practices, ideas, norms and theological constructs are examined historically; however, the…

Egypt

(11,934 words)

Author(s): Schenkel, Wolfgang | Weintritt, Otfried | Assmann, Jan | Bergman, Jan | Modrzejewski, Joseph Mélèze | Et al.
[German Version] I. General – II. History and Society – III. Religion and Culture I. General 1. Name/Designations In Egyptian-Coptic, Egypt is “the black (i.e. land)” (Egyptian *Kū́mut, Coptic Kēme, etc.) after the dark soil, in Semitic languages, generally, Miṣr-, etc., in Hebrew also מָצוֹר / Māṣôr (“border,” i.e. “borderland”?), in Greek after a sanctuary of the god Ptah as a designation for the old capital city Memphis, Aígyptos, i.e. Aígupto-s (in contemporary Egyptian perhaps *Hekoptáḥ). 2. Geography The central area of the country is the river oasis of the lowe…

Religion

(12,041 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Assmann, Jan (Heidelberg) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Colpe, Carsten (Berlin) | Et al.
I. Einleitung [English version] A. Bestimmung des Begriffs Als substantivistischer Terminus der rel. Selbstbeschreibung bezeichnet “R.” ein System von gemeinsamen Praktiken, individuellen Glaubensvorstellungen, kodifizierten Normen und theologischen Erklärungsmustern, dessen Gültigkeit zumeist auf ein autoritatives Prinzip oder Wesen zurückgeführt wird. Für die R.-Wissenschaft ist der R.-Begriff dagegen eine rein heuristische Kategorie, mit der jene Praktiken, Vorstellungen, Normen und theologischen Kon…