A Handbook of Egyptian Religion

By Adolf Erman; A. S. Griffith | Go to book overview

PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH EDITION

THE volume here translated appeared originally in 1904 as one of the excellent series of handbooks which, in addition to descriptive catalogues, are provided by the Berlin Museums for the guidance of visitors to their great collections. The handbook of the Egyptian Religion seemed especially worthy of a wide circulation. It is a survey by the founder of the modern school of Egyptology in Germany, of perhaps the most interesting of all the departments of this subject. The Egyptian religion appeals to some because of its endless variety of form, and the many phases of superstition and belief that it represents; to others because of its early recognition of a high moral principle, its elaborate conceptions of a life after death, and its connection with the development of Christianity; to others again no doubt because it explains pretty things dear to the collector of antiquities, and familiar objects in museums.

Professor Erman is the first to present the Egyptian religion in historical perspective; and it is surely a merit in his work that out of his profound knowledge of the Egyptian texts, he permits them to tell their own tale almost in their own words, either by extracts or by summaries. His pages are particularly free from theory, and no theory is needed to engage our attention when the facts and views disclosed are so attractive.

The author has written a special preface for the English edition, and has modified one or two points in his text as regards the degree in which burnt sacrifice was customary. A few of the illustrations that were in the original have been omitted, and their places taken by others. Mr. Hilton Price has especially to be thanked for his generosity in lending blocks employed in the catalogue of his collection.

F. LL. GRIFFITH.

-v-

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