Religion of the Pharaohs
REL 20s-01
Spring 2000
Caroline T. Schroeder, Instructor

Course Description and Objectives
The twentieth century witnessed a fascination with all things ancient Egyptian.  From the earliest version of the film "The Mummy" to the travelling art exhibit of the treasures of Tutankhamen's tomb to the millennium party at the pyramids, the previous century, especially in America, was marked by an obsession with ancient Egyptian religion and culture.  This course will examine the religious beliefs and practices of ancient Egyptians and the role of ancient Egypt in American culture and consciousness.   Specific topics to be studied include:  Egyptian royal and social history; Egyptian language and literature; mythology and cosmology; death and the afterlife; temple rituals and architecture; pyramids, tombs and other burial architecture; narratives of the Hebrew Exodus; the Rosetta Stone and the modern ýdiscoveryţ of ancient Egypt; and ancient Egypt in film and popular culture.
This course has six objectives.
1) to provide an introduction to Egyptian history, literature, and religion
2) to provide an introduction to basic themes and issues in the broader field of the study of religion
3) to develop skills in historical research, historical analysis, and historical writing
4) to develop the art of oral presentations
5) to facilitate multidisciplinary work  in literature, history, politics, and art
6) to develop a critical eye with respect to assignments and oneÝs own analysis of the material

Textbooks & Reading Materials
The foundation for the class will be readings from the following books:
 Nicholas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt
 A. Rosalie David, The Ancient Egyptians
 Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vols. 1 & 2
These books are on sale at the Regulator Bookshop on Ninth Street.  Vol. 3 of Lichtheim is also on sale, but we will not be reading as much from it as from the other two volumes.
Required reserve readings are marked with an * on the syllabus and will be available at the Divinity School library or e-reserves.  All multimedia assignments will be indicated by their URL (website address) on the syllabus or will be available on CD-ROM on reserve at the Divinity School Library.  Finally,  I have compiled a list of numerous other resources on reserve at the Divinity School Library, in the Divinity Reference Room, or on the internet on an accompanying page.  You will be expected to make full use of them, especially in your class presentations (see below).  Assignments categorized as Recommended are not required but will be of interest to students and are available for those interested in additional research on these topics.

Daily assignments:  Assignments should be completed before class on the day on which they are listed on the syllabus.  Assignments include ýprimary sourcesţ (literature, art, etc., from ancient Egypt), ýsecondary sourcesţ (modern academic writings about ancient Egypt), internet sites, and films.  In preparing for class, students should take into account the following:
´ basic ýfactsţ and concepts in the secondary sources
´ the ways in which the secondary sources and primary sources complement each other or contradict each other
´ the ways in which the secondary sources contradict or complement each other
´ the underlying argument, thesis, agenda, or perspective behind the secondary sources, internet sites, and films
Well-prepared students will bring to class specific questions about the assignments and topics for class discussion.
Class participation and attendance:  Class discussion and participation is an integral part of this class.  This is a small seminar, and all students are expected to participate in a  thoughtful, well prepared manner that is grounded in the course assignments.  All members of the class are expected to reflect critically on they ways in which they can contribute to constructive rather than destructive class dynamics.  The instructor will call upon students occasionally and will not always simply wait for students to volunteer themselves.  More than two absences may affect your grade, and athletes, band members, etc., are advised to provide official letters from their coaches explaining missed classes.
Film screenings:
 ´ Tuesday, February 8, 7 pm:  ýLand of the Pharaohsţ (1955)
 ´ Monday March 27, 7 pm:  ýThe Mummyţ (1932)
 ´ Wednesday April 12, 7 pm:  ýThe Prince of Egyptţ (1998)
 ´ Monday April 17, 7 pm:  ýStargateţ (1994)
 Attendance at these films screenings is mandatory.  If you have another class, an athletic event, or another required academic commitment scheduled for one of these times, you must notify the instructor immediately and arrange to view the film on your own time.  All except ýLand of the Pharaohsţ are available for rent at Vis-Art video (and presumably Blockbuster), but only ýThe Mummyţ is available at Lilly.  If you do not attend the viewing, you will be called upon in a following class to discuss the movie.  The films  will be followed by some discussion, but we will discuss them during regular class sessions, as well.  Students should view all required and recommended films with an eye not for their historicity but for the ways in which ancient Egyptian history is appropriated and presented by modern filmmakers and the modern issues these films address.
Short papers:  Throughout the semester, students will be analytical papers based on class assignments, films, presentations made by fellow students, and class discussions.  Students are not expected to do outside research for these papers.  One or more questions will be provided to focus the papers.  The papers should be well-constructed, be well-written, and argue a clear thesis.  The thesis may be a complicated one, but the paper as a whole should be concise.  Papers will be due in the Religion Department office by 5 pm on February 4, February 25, March 10, & April 7, and in class on April 25.   Electronic submissions will not be accepted under any circumstances.  Students are exempt from the short paper that coincides with their class presentation, so each student will write a total of 4 short papers.
Group presentations and final projects:  During the semester, there will be four in-class presentations organized by students in groups of four.  These presentations will culminate in a small group research paper 25-45 pages in length (7-10 pp per person + a collective introduction).  Topics and groups will be selected in the first ten days of the semester.  The instructor will provide each group with a handout on their research topic outlining the minimum material expected to be covered in the presentation and introducing some resources available to the students.  The groups are also expected to make use of the resources on the handout describing reserve, reference, and www materials.   Presentations should include some visual aids.

Evaluation & Grading
Late work will not be accepted.  If there is a tragedy in your life, and you need an exception to this policy, you must make arrangements with me before the work is due.
Grading scale
 Fˇexpresses little accurate information and/or is not coherent,  fails to answer the questions
 Dˇdemonstrates little thought; work shows effort, but the information, explanation, and conclusions are weak
 Cˇarticulates your thoughts coherently
 Bˇexplores why you think the way you do
 Aˇreserved for excellence, when you use the material as a springboard for higher level critical thinking of your own rather than merely report information or describe what you think.  For instance:  You engage with other perspectives, counter-arguments, etc.  You demonstrate creativity and original though.  You step back from your own point of view to look at the pros and cons of thinking in the ways you do.
Final grades
 Participation:   20%
 Short papers:  40%  (10% each)
 Group projects:
  Presentation: 20%
  Final project: 20%
 The student grades for the presentation and the final project will consist of a group grade (50 %) and an individual grade (50%).
Midterm evaluations and grades will be available upon request.

Assignments should be completed before class on the day on which they are listed on the syllabus.
In preparing for class, students should take into account the following:
* basic "facts" and concepts in the secondary sources
* the ways in which the secondary sources and primary sources complement each other or contradict each other
* the ways in which the secondary sources contradict or complement each other
* the underlying argument, thesis, agenda, or perspective behind the secondary sources, internet sites, and films

Well-prepared students will bring to class specific questions about the assignments and topics for class discussion.

Course Schedule

I. Introduction to Egyptian History, Language, and Religion

Jan 13    Introduction
Studying Egypt
Syllabus and assignments

Jan 18    "The Basics" I:  Prehistory and Social History of Ancient Egypt
David, 17-41
* "Ethnic Diversity," "Social Institutions," and "Private Life" in Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, 225-34, 345-62, 363-81
Recommended: - find and explore The Art of Ancient Egypt:  A Web Resource
Grimal, 17-31 & 34-39
* "Royal Ideology" in CANE, 273- 87

Jan 20    "The Basics" II:  Social History, Language, & the Rosetta Stone
* "Economics" in CANE, 1373- 85
Grimal, 31-34  [If Grimal pp. 31-34 are confusing, check out on reserve Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 5- 10]
* Cracking Codes 31-45, 70-72, 114- 115
* Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 25-30 + plate II; ex. on p. 30:  b) all, c) 1, 3, 4, 8
* Cracking Codes, 198-200

Jan 25   "The Basics" III:  Gods, Goddesses, & Mythology
Grimal, 41-48
* Byron E. Shafer, Religion in Ancient Egypt, 7-73 (lots of pictures!)
* Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 30-44; ex. on p. 37: a) 1-5, b) 1, 2

Jan 27   "The Basics" IV:  Cosmology & Cultic Practices
* Shafer, Religion in Ancient Egypt, 88- 122
* Shafer, Temples of Ancient Egypt, 1- 28

II. The Old Kingdom

Feb 1    History of the Old Kingdom
Grimal, 63-101
David, 42-45

Feb 3    Literature of the Old Kingdom
Lichtheim I: 15-80

Feb 4    *** FIRST 5-PAGE PAPER DUE 5 PM ***

Feb 8    ***  Group Presentation on Pyramid Construction, the Sphinx, and Solar Barques ***
Grimal 102-136

Feb 8    *** 7 pm, Film Screening:  "Land of the Pharaohs" starring Joan Collins ***

Feb 10  ***  Group Presentation on Mummification and Old Kingdom Funerary Art, Furnishings, and Ritual ***
David, 45-90 - Roman Egyptian mummies!

III. The Middle Kingdom

Feb 15  History of the Middle Kingdom
Grimal, 137-181
Lichtheim I:  163-184
Check out the Middle Egyptian bust in the museum highlights on the Oriental Institute's website
* Treasures of the Egyptian Museum, Middle Kingdom (read pp. 136-41, skim pp. 101, 103-5, 113-19, 132-33, 142-154)

Feb 17  Literature of the Middle Kingdom
Lichtheim I: 94-96, 131-133, 193-236
Explore the virtual museum exhibits, especially on Middle Egypt, at the Oriental Institute,  (You may need to download Quicktime; links and instructions are on the OI museum page.)

Feb 22  Religious change in the Middle Kingdom
David, 91-114
* Treasures of the Egyptian Museum, Middle Kingdom pt. II (read pp. 90-99, skim pp. 106-7, 112, 120-21, 126-31, 134-35)
Read ahead in Grimal for Thursday!

IV. The New Kingdom

Feb 24  The New Kingdom -- 18th Dynasty
Grimal, 182-225
David, 120-121
Lichtheim II: 25-48
* Donald B. Redford, "The Concept of Kingship during the Eighteenth Dynasty," in O'Connor and Silverman, Ancient Egyptian Kingship, 157-84
* Treasures of the Egyptian Museum, New Kingdom (pp. 162-65, 168-71, 176-79)

Feb 25  *** SECOND 5-PAGE PAPER DUE 5 PM ***

Feb 29  Religious Life in the New Kingdom
David, 121-126, 135-147, 154-157
Lichtheim II: 81-89
* Tyldesley, Hatchepsut, 99-153
Explore 18th Dynasty objects and monuments at and
In-class debate:  did Hatshepsut's reign challenge traditional Egyptian norms about gender roles?

Mar 2    Akhenaten & Nefertiti's Religious "Revolution"
Grimal, 226-244
David, 157-168
Lichtheim II: 89-100
Find the Pharaohs of the Sun exhibit at

Mar 7    Tutankhamen's "Counter-Revolution" & the beginning of the Ramessid Period [19th-20th Dynasties]
David, 168-171
Lichtheim II: 100-118
Grimal, 245-287

Mar 9    New Kingdom Literature and Mythology
Lichtheim II:  135-66, 197-230
* Treasures of the Egyptian Museum, New Kingdom (pp. 258-59, 266, 268-69, 272-79)

Mar 10   *** THIRD PAPER (2-Page position paper arguing for or against the radical nature & effects of Atenism) DUE 5 PM ***

Mar 21   Religion and the New Kingdom Pharaohs
*** Group Presentation on 19th-20th Dynasties:  Royal Temples ***
Grimal, 287-308
* Shafer, Temples of Ancient Egypt, 86- 126
Check out 19th-20th Dynasty monuments (esp. Abu Simbel, Abydos, Luxor, & the West Bank) at and

Mar 23   New Kingdom Popular Religion
*** Group Presentation on Popular Cultic Practice (household & festival), and the Priesthood ***
David, 126-36
* Shafer, Temples of Ancient Egypt, 127- 184

Mar 27   *** 7 pm, Film Screening:  "The Mummy" starring Boris Karloff ***
Read "Orientalism" by Edward Said on reserve before the film

Mar 28   New Kingdom Funerary Practices & The Book of the Dead
David, 148-54
Lichtheim II: 119-132
* Erik Hornung, The Valley of the Kings, (this is not on e-reserve because of the color photographs) 55-86, 208
Read around and check out the pictures in The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead on reserve.

Mar 30   Additional New Kingdom Books of the Afterlife
*** In-class viewing of "Tut:  the Boy King" narrated by Orson Welles ***
* "The Amduat" in Hornung, Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife, 27-53
* Selections from the Book of Amduat in The Shrines of Tut-ankh-amon, 79-83, 85-89
* Hornung, The Valley of the Kings, (not on e-reserve) 123-164
 * Hornung, Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife, 116-35
 * The Book of Day and the Book of Night in The Tomb of Ramesses VI

V. Egypt After the Pharaohs

Apr 4    The Later Periods and Dynasties
Grimal 311-366
Lichtheim III: 13-41, 66-84, 86-89

Apr 6    Hellenism in Egypt
Grimal, 367-382
* Alan K. Bowman, Egypt after the Pharaohs, selections
* Selection from Greek writer(s) Herodotus, Diodorus, Siculus, or Strabo TBA
Lichtheim III: 41-54, 90-103, 104-21
Find Ptolemaic objects at and
* Treasures of the Egyptian Museum, Greek (pp. 356-59, skim 372-75)
* CANE, 3-14

Apr 7 *** FOURTH 5-PAGE PAPER DUE 5 PM ***

Apr 11   Romanization and Christianization of Egypt
* Bowman, Egypt after the Pharaohs, selections
* Plutarch, "On Isis and Osiris," selections
* Apuleius, The Golden Ass, selections
* Treasures of the Egyptian Museum, Roman (pp. 378-88, skim 392-93, 402-3)
Watch "Cleopatra" starring Elizabeth Taylor over the weekend before class!

VI. Ancient Egypt in the Modern Consciousness

Apr 12  *** 7 pm, Film Screening:  Prince of Egypt  ***

Apr 13  Narratives of the Hebrew Exodus
* Exodus 7:14-12:32
* Modrzejewski, Jews of Egypt, selections
*** In-class viewing of clips from the Ten Commandments ***

Apr 17 *** Film viewing:  Stargate starring Kurt Russell and James Spader ***

Apr 18   Egypt in Popular Culture
* Nancy Thomas, The American Discovery of Ancient Egypt, 21-35 (not on E-reserve - book on reserve at Div School Library)
* Elizabeth Peters, Crocodile on the Sandbank, selections
 * "Western Thought" in CANE, 15-31

Apr 20   Egypt and African-American Perspectives
* James H. Cone, The Spirituals and the Blues:  An Interpretation, selections
* Garth Kasim Baker-Fletcher, Xodus:  an African American Male Journey, selections
* Albert J. Raboteau, "Exodus, Ethiopia, and Racial Messianism:  Texts and Contexts of African American Chosenness," in Many Are Chosen:  Divine Election and Western Nationalism, eds. William R. Hutchison and Hartmut Lehman
* Jacques Berlinerblau, The Black Athena Controversy and the REsponsibilities of American Intellectuals, selections
* Martin Bernal, Black Athena:  The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, selections

Apr 25   Wrap-up