Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Abominations of Egypt

A friend of mine (let's give him the anonymous internet pseudonym of Tanur Empanadas, or TE for short, just for kicks) lent me his copy of Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods by Dimitri Meeks and Christine Favard-Meeks. Originally written in French, and translated by G. M. Goshgarian, the book “treats the ancient Egyptian gods as if they were an ethnic group that captured the fancy of ethnologists or sociologists” in the words of the back-cover blurb. It talks about their origins, qualities, interactions, biographies, inclinations, hobbies — anything you would expect in a description of a real live group of people. Except this is all from the perspective of the Ancient Egyptians... what we can learn from the evidence they left us about how they imagined their gods.

And now I think I understand why the Torah warns us away from the *abominous “doings of the Land of Egypt” — those people were complete pervs!

The Ancient Egyptian gods were all one big family, who married their siblings, raped their siblings, raped their parents, cheated on their [sibling] spouses with their other relatives... and these are their gods! It's not quite the Greek gods having sex with everything that moves and many things that don't, but it seems even worse — the long complicated stories about rape and rape back, and the magical machinations of divine spooj... ick. These guys were disgusting.

On a separate, but related, note —

I had a friend in college who was Jewish, but got turned off of Judaism when she was a girl and her Hebrew School teachers berated and insulted her for being interested in Egyptology. Somehow because God kicked their butts and freed us from their slavery, that makes them unfit for historical inquiry? They were still human, after all. And it's not like she was worshipping Horus's divine spew or something! It could have been a great educational opportunity to talk about the differences between Israelite and Egyptian ideas of cosmology, morality, etc. — and they just wasted it, and wasted my friend's Jewish potential along with it. Bad teachers.

6 Comments:

Blogger Drew_Kaplan said...

You know, they were two mentions of Egyptian abominations in Genesis: shepherds and eating bread with the Hebrews.

8/08/2008 6:09 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Ironic how the Ancient Egyptians found shepherds and multiculturalism disgusting, but were really into divine spooj.

8/08/2008 6:12 PM  
Blogger Miriam said...

and what, exactly, is divine "shefa" in the kabbalistic hierarchy? need i remind you that it "emanates" from yesod/keter?? people who live in glass houses....

8/10/2008 8:00 PM  
Blogger Elie said...

You know, they were two mentions of Egyptian abominations in Genesis: shepherds and eating bread with the Hebrews.

Which, as the Living Torah Chumash points out, were one and the same issue: The Hebrews ate lamb, which rendered their lips unclean and made eating with them taboo for the Egyptians.

8/11/2008 12:44 PM  
Blogger J. "יהוא בן יהושפט בן נמשי" Izrael said...

"The Ancient Egyptian gods were all one big family, who married their siblings, raped their siblings, raped their parents, cheated on their [sibling] spouses with their other relatives..."

Oh, so they were Hassidim? Why can't you speak more simlpy? ( :-)))

(Sorry, couldn't hold back the nasty remark)

(BTW - Now I know why there are two stars in the title of W.A.S.P.'s first single... I never could figure that one out ;-) )

8/18/2008 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds too close to the hindoo dieties for comfort.

Ideas cross borders, in the ancient world too. But why did they have to Peytonplace-ize their gods?

Perhaps because such things excited them? As narrative, that is.

Thank Frigg that NEVER happened in northern Europe.


---Grant patel

8/22/2008 2:46 PM  

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