Originally posted on LJ on Dec 30, 2010
Today I’m reviewing the book “Gods and Men in Egypt: 3000 BCE to 395CE” by Francoise Dunand and Chritiane Zivie-Coche. It took me a while to get around to reading this book. I’ve had it for nearly a year, yet I couldn’t seem to ever get into it- until recently. The book was originally written in French, and has been translated into English. I personally feel that the translation created a bit of an issue for me, and it took a while to get used to the reading style. So if you’re anything like me, you might have a similar issue.
Once you get used to the writing style, the book is awesome. There are a lot of different topics covered, and the authors go very in depth. The book also has a lot of “tidbit” information in it- little facts and ideas that are presented that you don’t see a lot of anywhere else. The book goes over many aspects of AE religious practice- the basics about temples, personal practice, the gods and their mythologies, etc. As a whole, it’s pretty indepth. It covered a lot of heka/oracle practices. It expanded on things that I wish other books would have covered (Rittner’s book, Pinch’s book for example).
I also liked that this book was balanced. They didn’t rattle off every theory as “the gospel”, and they mentioned where some of their ideas didn’t fit the “norm”. Which ironically, I fall into liking some of the theories that are not “normal”. It is probably for these two reasons alone that I love this book. I love a balanced book.
My only beef with the book is that it spent waaaaay too much time covering Late Period Egypt. It was interesting to learn about the Greco-Roman influences, and also early Christian Egypt. But as a whole, I’m not really into that era, and don’t care to learn about it. So that is more personal beef than anything else. Even what was written was well written, and I learned quite a bit about the LP.
What I also found interesting was his covering of temples- I was surprised to find that many of the temples that are referenced are from the Ptolemic period. Yet no one seems to really mention that in their books. I also liked that they broke down the differences btwn a priest in a very wealthy temple, and how things are run in a moderate sized temple. This is also rarely covered.
All in all, I would recommend this book. It has a lot of information and is well written- translation aside.