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Akhenaten and the Origins of Monotheism


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Table of Contents

Preface ; Abbreviations ; Map ; 1. When the Sun Ruled Egypt ; 2. Sky and Sun Together ; 3. The Dawn of the Amarna Period ; 4. The Domain of Aten: the Temples of Aten at Karnak ; 5. Finding Aten and Founding Akhet-Aten ; 6. Aten Alone ; 7. Is Atenism Monotheism? ; 8. The Hymns to Aten: A Monotheistic Manifesto ; 9. The Influence of Atenism in Egypt and the Bible? ; Index

About the Author

James K. Hoffmeier is Professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern History and Archaeology at Trinity International University.


In the history of ideas one early figure stands out as an initiator of change, Akhenaten, king of Egypt. His attempt to simplify understanding of divine power represents a bold exercise in critical thinking. Hoffmeier's book lays out clearly and authoritatively the historical context and the nature of the prevailing concepts against which Akhenaten reacted. * Barry Kemp, Director, the Amarna Project *
Hoffmeier offers a stimulating and judicious re-evaluation of the many controversial historical issues related to the Amarna Period. Particularly thought-provoking is a new interpretation of the origins of Akhenaten's religious ideas based on a phenomenology of religion approach. Akhenaten's experience is identified as a theophany and is examined against other encounters with the divine found in ancient Near Eastern sources. Exploring the questions of whether Atenism was monotheistic and whether it could have influenced Hebrew monotheism, the book will also be of great interest to Biblical scholars. * Boyo Ockinga, Associate Professor of Ancient History, Macquarie University, Sydney *
James Hoffmeier draws upon the latest scholarly research to inform this new study of Atenism. Well-versed in the religious traditions of Egypt, Israel, and the Near East, Hoffmeier utilizes phenomenological, linguistic, and archaeological approaches to argue that Akhenaten's 'heretical' religion was a potent combination of revelation and revivalism. His own excavations of Atenist remains at the border fortress of Tell el-Borg also bring fresh evidence to bear on ever-intriguing issues. * Ellen Morris, Department of Classics and Ancient Studies, Barnard College *
Hoffmeier does an excellent job placing Akhenaten and his religion in the broader context of the history and religions of the entire ancient Near East. Drawing upon texts, archaeological data (including new evidence from his excavations in the Sinai), architecture, and art, he provides innovative insight on a subject that has been extensively studied by so many others. * Emily Teeter, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago *
it is an excellent and stimulating contribution and provides a truly in-depth introduction to the religion of Akhenaten's period and its origins. * Peter C. Nadig, Bryn Mawr Review *

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