Lecture: Belief in the afterlife during the Amarna 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.


Monday February 22nd, 2021


House of Life, Abydos


10:00 AM


12:00 AM