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Akhenaten and the Origins of Monotheism$
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James K. Hoffmeier

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199792085

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199792085.001.0001

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When the Sun Ruled Egypt

When the Sun Ruled Egypt

(p.1) Chapter 1 When the Sun Ruled Egypt
Akhenaten and the Origins of Monotheism

James K. Hoffmeier

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews the evidence for the rise of solar worship in Egypt’s Old Kingdom. The Pyramid Texts serve as the primary written source for understanding solar religion in the 3rd millennium B.C. Also investigated are other solar images and icons, such as the Benben Stone (the sacred symbol of the sun-god Atum in Heliopolis), the obelisk, the pyramid, the sphinx, and sun temples. The sun cult in Heliopolis proved to be very influential from the Old Kingdom onwards. These various solar images will play an influential in the early religious expressions of Akhenaten’s religion a millennium later, and they attest to the ascendency of solar religion in Egypt 1500 years before Akhenaten’s day.

Keywords:   sun-god, Atum, obelisk, pyramid, Pyramid Texts, sphinx, sun temple

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