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Religion in Roman Egypt: Assimilation and Resistance [Paperback]

By David Frankfurter (Author)
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Item description for Religion in Roman Egypt: Assimilation and Resistance by David Frankfurter...

This exploration of cultural resilience examines the complex fate of classical Egyptian religion during the centuries from the period when Christianity first made its appearance in Egypt to when it became the region's dominant religion (roughly 100 to 600 C.E. Taking into account the full range of witnesses to continuing native piety--from papyri and saints' lives to archaeology and terracotta figurines--and drawing on anthropological studies of folk religion, David Frankfurter argues that the religion of Pharonic Egypt did not die out as early as has been supposed but was instead relegated from political centers to village and home, where it continued a vigorous existence for centuries.

In analyzing the fate of the Egyptian oracle and of the priesthoods, the function of magical texts, and the dynamics of domestic cults, Frankfurter describes how an ancient culture maintained itself while also being transformed through influences such as Hellenism, Roman government, and Christian dominance. Recognizing the special characteristics of Egypt, which differentiated it from the other Mediterranean cultures that were undergoing simultaneous social and political changes, he departs from the traditional "decline of paganism/triumph of Christianity" model most often used to describe the Roman period. By revealing late Egyptian religion in its Egyptian historical context, he moves us away from scenarios of Christian triumph and shows us how long and how energetically pagan worship survived.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Princeton University Press
Pages   336
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.24" Width: 6.08" Height: 0.81"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 5, 2000
Publisher   Princeton University Press
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0691070547  
ISBN13  9780691070544  

Availability  0 units.

More About David Frankfurter

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! David Frankfurter is Professor of Religious Studies and HistDavid Frankfurter is Professor of Religious Studies and History at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author of ory at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author of the acclaimed "Religion in Roman Egypt" (Princeton), which wthe acclaimed "Religion in Roman Egypt" (Princeton), which won the 1999 award for excellence in the historical study of on the 1999 award for excellence in the historical study of religion from the American Academy of Religion. religion from the American Academy of Religion.

David Frankfurter currently resides in the state of New Hampshire. David Frankfurter was born in 1961.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Africa > Egypt > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > Egypt
3Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > Rome
4Books > Subjects > History > Middle East > Egypt
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

Reviews - What do customers think about Religion in Roman Egypt?

Thorough  Jun 25, 2006
This book is a thorough account of pagan Egyptian religion from the Roman occupation of Egypt during the first five centuries AD. It details the struggle of pagnism vs. Christianity in the course of Egyptian religious observance.

There is much I have learned about this period of history by reading this book. Suprisingly (in my opinion) there did not seem to be an enormous Roman influence on this culture (aside from imperial objections to oracles Rome may have found contentius).

The author's writing style is not easy to follow along with. While erudite,he seems to put much information in one paragraph,leads to another point and then returns to his original point some time later. A reader my have to re-read several paragraphs just to gather his original point. (Have a very good dictionary handy as well).

Overall, this is an interesting book.
Excellent research and writing  May 11, 2000
What happened to the ancient Egyptian religion during the Roman rule and Christian incursion? This question is answered here. I am sure other people have read this book, but the book description delineates it so well it is difficult to add more.

David Frankfurter gives a balanced and well researched account of the survival, adaption and transformation of the indigenous Egyptian religion between roughly 100 to 600 C.E.- a time when Egypt was without a pharoah and under the governance of Rome, when Rome itself was becoming Christianized. All these things put pressure on the Egyptians to change.

The first chapter lays the groundwork and background and is a bit dry. Chapters 2 through 6 are the heart of the book and well worth it. Modern Pagans might be surprised and happy to see themselves in the domestic aspects of local religions discussed in Chapter 3. Chapter 5 was my favorite; it dealt with the transformation of the Priest into the Magician. Just how did the Egyptians get the reputation of high magic and deep wisdom among the ancient world of the Greeks and Romans? How did they use this? How did this survive into the Christian and Muslim eras?

The seventh chapter is the last chapter and a conclusion of sorts, delineating how the Christian leaders excoriated the Pagan (Hellenes, as they were called at that time) customs, yet how these customs were adapted into the new religion. And more importantly, why.

There is a great bibliography and a vast amount of footnotes for those who want to look further.

Those interested in ancient Egyptian religion, comparative religion or the interaction of the Pagan and Christian worlds will find this book both useful and informative.


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