Gods and Men in Egypt
3000 BCE to 395 CE
Translated by David Lorton
An Alternate Selection of the Discovery Channel Book Club
In their wide-ranging interpretation of the religion of ancient Egypt, Françoise Dunand and Christiane Zivie-Coche explore how, over a period of roughly 3500 years, the Egyptians conceptualized their relations with the gods. Drawing on the insights of anthropology, the authors discuss such topics as the identities, images, and functions of the gods; rituals and liturgies; personal forms of piety expressing humanity's need to establish a direct relation with the divine; and the afterlife, a central feature of Egyptian religion. That religion, the authors assert, was characterized by the remarkable continuity of its ritual practices and the ideas of which they were an expression.
Throughout, Dunand and Zivie-Coche take advantage of the most recent archaeological discoveries and scholarship. Gods and Men in Egypt is unique in its coverage of Egyptian religious expression in the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. Written with nonspecialist readers in mind, it is largely concerned with the continuation of Egypt's traditional religion in these periods, but it also includes fascinating accounts of Judaism in Egypt and the appearance and spread of Christianity there.