Lecture: Belief in the afterlife during the Amarna Period & The Cult of Baal-Zaphon during the early Ramesside Period

Date: Monday February 22nd, 2021
Location: House of Life, Abydos
Start: 10:00 AM
End: 12:00 AM

This lecture by Egyptologist Huub Pragt is part of the House of Life Healing Conference 2021.

The reliefs in tombs of the officials at Tell el-Amarna show the total absence of any mythological representations. The only deity who appears is the sun god Aten. Akhenaten, Nefertiti together with their daughters, appear frequently in the scenes, as does the temple of the Aten in the new city, Akhetaten. In the new religious concept, the afterlife is localized in this world. There is no supernatural world of the dead ruled over by Osiris. There is neither a celestial afterlife such as joining the crew of the nocturnal barque of the sun. Nor will one sail through the body of sky goddess Nut towards his rebirth in the morning. The deceased, in the form of their ba, dwell in their tomb and receive offerings there. They come out to worship the Aten and go to the temple where they also receive offerings and hear the voice of Akhenaten. Judgement is transferred from the divine tribunal of Osiris to the real world where the king is the judge. He decides not only one’s fate in this life but also who will have a goodly burial. Maat is now determined as doing what the king wishes. Akhenaten is the provider of an afterlife; he provides the tomb and he provides sustenance. In Amarna, the traditional funerary offering “a boon which the king gives” is to be understood literally. What has effectively happened is that funerary beliefs return, to a situation comparable with that which existed in the early Old Kingdom.
Baal-Zaphon is the North Syrian manifestation of the Canaanite god Baal. He deals with the control of the atmospheric phenomena such as storms, thunders, and lightening. The worship of Baa-Zaphon in Egypt goes back to the occupation of the Hyksos during the Second Intermediate Period. This is attested by a seal-stamp from Tell el-Dab’a, in the Eastern Delta. The storm god is depicted in a smiting position. He has a long beard and each foot stands on a mountain. In one hand he brandishes a spear in the other an axe. In Egypt Seth, the god of confusion, was the lord of foreign countries. He would have usurped some of the attributes of Baal-Zaphon, especially those concerning to storms. Evidence of worship in several locations testifies the ongoing cult performed to Baal-Zaphon until the Ramesside Period. Papyrus Sallier IV – dating from the reign of Merenptah – provides a list of divinities from Memphis mentioning Egyptian gods, followed by a list of West Semite divinities, where, among others, the name of Baal-Zaphon is cited. During the 19th Dynasty Baal-Zaphon was worshiped in Pi-Ramesse, the Egyptian capital in the Ramesside Period, under the form of the god Seth.

Date

Monday February 22nd, 2021

Location

House of Life, Abydos

Start

10:00 AM

End

12:00 AM