A comparison of ancient Egyptian and ancient Hebrew religious cosmogonies

Gwala, Mzonzima (1995)

Thesis (M.A.) -- University of Stellenbosch, 1995.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The phenomenological approach employed in this comparative study of ancient Egyptian and ancient Hebrew religions cosmogonies, takes care of the gaps between the various cosmogonies. This is also true of the gaps in time between the ancient Egyptian cosmogonies and those of the Hebrew Bible. The study indicated that Ancient Egypt and the ancient lsraelit:;s did not exist in isolation, although each community was unique in its own context. Myth as one of the most central concepts in the study of cosmogonies, ha_s fundamental value both in ancient Egyptian understanding as well as that of the ancient Israelites. Examples of ancient Egyptian cosmogonies as well as different versions of ancient Hebrew cosmogonies were discussed. Three types of ancient Egyptian cosmogonies (Heliopolitan, Theban and Hermopolis) explained in this paper were shown to be complementary to each other; the same idea (i .e. complementary) was not foreign in the ancient Hebrew cosmogonies (Genesis 1 and 2). God and the gods played a very significant role with regard to human beings, being either a servant of or owing his or her allegiance to God/the gods as his or her creator. There are significant similarities in the way these two communities understood the notion of cosmogony, but in the same breath, remarkable differences were also witnessed throughout the discussion of these various cosmogonies, hence the use of the term "distinctive and common ground in the ancient Near East" with special reference to ancient Egypt and the Hebrew Bible.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die fenomenologiese benadering wat in hierdie vergelykende studie van die ou Egiptiese en ou Hebreeuse religieuse kosmogoniee gevolg is, oorkom die gapings tussen die verskillende kosmogoniee. Dit is oak waar van die gapings in tyd tussen die au Egiptiese kosmogoniee en die van die Hebreeuse Bybel. Die studie toon aan dat au Egipte en die ou lsraeliete nie in isolasie bestaan het nie, alhoewel elke gemeenskap uniek was in sy eie konteks. Mite, as een van die mees sentrale konsepte in die studie van kosmogoniee, was van fundamentele betekenis in sowel die ou Egiptiese denke as in die van die ou lsraeliete. Voorbeelde van ou Egiptiese kosmogoniee sowel as verskillende weergawes van ou Hebreeuse kosmogoniee is bespreek. Orie Egiptiese tipes (Heliopolis, Thebe en Hermopolis) is verduidelik en daar is aangetoon dat hulle mekaar aangevul het; 'n idee wat oak nie vreemd is aan die ou Hebreeuse kosmogoniee van Gen 1 en 2 nie. God en die gode het 'n baie belangrike rol met betrekking tot menslike wesens gespeel , die mens was of 'n dienaar, of het sy onderdanigheid aan God/die gode as sy skepper erken. Daar is groat ooreenkomste in die maniere waarop hierdie twee gemeenskappe die gedagte van kosmogonie verstaan het, maar in dieselfde asem moet erken word dat groat verskille in die bespreking van die verskillende kosmogoniee gevind is, vandaar die gebruik van die term "distinctive and common ground" in die ou Nabye Ooste met besondere verwysing na ou Egipte en die Hebreeuse Bybel.

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