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The Cult of Ra: Sun-Worship in Ancient Egypt

This text draws together Egyptological advances in our understanding of the cult of Ra, from the 3rd Millennium BC to the Roman conquest of Egypt and the rise of Christianity. It explores Egyptian sources for the character of Ra, his pivotal role in creation, and the way in which Egyptians expressed the world as physical matter unfurling from the sun. The core of the book focuses on on the epicentre of the cult: the temple of Ra at Iunu.

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  1. Edward King says

    Being the Sun An enlightening book on the royal temple cults of the divine and visible sun. Written in an academic style still accessible to lay-folk like me, it presents a very clear picture of how the ancient Egytians, worshipped the great sun-god Ra. Using the most recent Egyptological evidence, Quirke does a masterful job illustrating not only the outer political and religious significance of the cult, but also the Ancient’s subjective view on these matters, e.g., the experience of Ra, the Pharaoh and the visable sun were one and the same, not symbololic of each other, but of one identity. My only significant criticism was the final chapter on Ankhenaten’s revised royal cult. Although solar in nature, it was far enough removed from the old cult of Ra, a god among many divine powers, as to feel like a diversion and anti-climatic as a final chapter.

  2. Tif says

    Great Book for Those Interested in Ra This book is about Ra and his cult (true to the title!) Quirke takes you through Thebes and Iunu, talking about the different sources for Ra-related myths, hymns related to Ra and other forms of the sun god, and there’s also a chapter on Akhenaten and Amarna that I found very enlightening.I was hoping to read more about the actual cult practices themselves–or at least what we know about them. There was a little of that, but Quirke discussed more of the archaeology behind what we know of Ra’s cults than the practices themselves. Still, the tidbits he did include were awesome; you get a feel for what must have been done in the temples over the centuries until the end of pharaonic Egypt.If you’re interested in ancient Egypt’s solar theology, this is a great book to add to your collection. I would recommend getting it post haste, because the book is becoming rather hard to find.

  3. David A. Hiles says

    The Cult of Ra Excellent review of subject matter, details pertintent to subject. should be a read for all students of Egyptology

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