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Following OsirisPerspectives on the Osirian Afterlife from Four Millenia$
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Mark Smith

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199582228

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582228.001.0001

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Summary of Results: Why Osiris?

Summary of Results: Why Osiris?

Chapter:
(p.538) 8 Summary of Results: Why Osiris?
Source:
Following Osiris
Author(s):

Mark Smith

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582228.003.0009

This chapter summarizes the results of the previous seven chapters. It also identifies recurrent themes in the book, discusses the benefits of the investigative approach adopted in it, and explores two further questions (1) why did Osiris rise to prominence when he did and eclipse existing deities associated with the afterlife to become the primary god of the dead, and (2) why did belief in him finally cease to attract adherents? We are unable to answer the first of these questions with certainty. One reason why Osiris eclipsed other deities to become the primary Egyptian god of the dead was that he offered something which they did not: the prospect of eternal life in divine form. Nor can we provide an answer to the second question, other than to say that at some point belief in the Osirian afterlife ceased to have meaning for those who had once embraced it. Before this happened, however, that belief had not only survived but flourished for centuries, thus demonstrating the enduring power of its attraction.

Keywords:   summary, conclusions, recurrent themes, loss of faith, conversion

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