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Dialogues with the DeadEgyptology in British Culture and Religion, 1822-1922$
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David Gange

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199653102

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199653102.001.0001

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Second Intermediate Period

Second Intermediate Period

Petrie’s Prehistory and the Oxyrhynchus Papyri

(p.237) 4 Second Intermediate Period
Dialogues with the Dead

David Gange

Oxford University Press

Around the turn of the century, several developments undercut the uniquely integrated and coherent Egyptological culture of the 1880s and 1890s. The most significant was the long-resisted recognition of Egyptian prehistory which problematized apologetic uses of the Old Kingdom and imposed evolutionary narratives on ancient history. Race became increasingly important, drawing anthropological and eugenic interest to the cemeteries of Upper Egypt and Nubia. Interest in papyrology and early Christian Egypt also increased; this attracted the attention of New Testament scholars whose authority further problematized Egyptologists’ freedom to interpret their own discoveries. At the same time scholars of Assyriology and Egyptology in Germany made a bid for disciplinary freedom from theology, closely watched by British scholars. This was a key period in the disciplinarization and professionalization of Egyptology, and archaeologists such as Petrie began to rewrite Egyptology’s history while they consolidated its technical apparatus and disciplinary independence.

Keywords:   Egyptology, archaeology, professionalization, papyrology, Assyriology, prehistory, eugenic, anthropological

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