Remembering Osiris: Number, Gender, and the Word in Ancient Egyptian Representational Systems
The texts and visual arts of ancient Egypt reveal a persistent and sophisticated engagement with problems of language, the body, and multiplicity. This innovative book shows how these issues were represented in ancient Egypt and how Egyptian approaches to them continue to influence the way we think about them today.
The story of Osiris is one of the central cultural myths of ancient Egypt, a story of dismemberment and religious passion that also exemplifies attitudes about personal identity, sexuality, and the transfer of royal power. It is, moreover, a story of death and the overcoming of death, and in this it lies at the center of our own means of engagement with ancient Egypt.
This book focuses on the story of Osiris as it is recorded in Egyptian texts and memorialized on the walls of temples and tombs. Since such a focus is attainable only through Egyptian representational systems, especially hieroglyphs, the book also engages broader questions of writing and visual representation: decipherment, controversies about the ideograph, and the relation between visual images and writing.
This analysis of Egyptian representation leads to a consideration of the phallic body and the problem of multiplicity in Egyptian religion, two nets of Egyptian discourse that, though integrated into the writing system itself, reach toward broader Egyptian discourses of gender, subjectivity, piety, and cosmogenesis. The concluding chapter considers, in specific terms, the question of a persisting Egyptian legacy in the West, from the Greeks and Israelites to Augustine, Hegel, and Lacan.
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Akhenaten Amarna Amun Ancient Egypt Ancient Egyptian Anubis Assmann Atum Aunu Bata body Breasted cartouche Christ Christian claim Coffin Texts construction context cosmogony creation cult culture dead death deceased depicted divine Dynasty Egyptian art Egyptian religion Egyptian thought Ennead example existence female figure funerary glyphs gods Greek hand heart Hegel hieroglyphic Hornung Horus Horus and Setekh human Ibid iconic identity ideogram important individual inscription Isis Jan Assmann kamutef Karnak Kemp king language legacy logograms logographic lykhernofret Ma'at male meaning Memphite Theology metonymy Middle Kingdom Museum myth narrative Nile notion offering Osiris painting Palette papyrus phallic phallocentric phallus pharaoh phonetic picture problem Ptah Pyramid Texts question relation religious representation represents royal scene Senusert Setekh sexual Shabaka Stone significance specific stela supplementarity symbol Tefnut tion titulary tomb translation understanding voice Wepemnefret Western word writing system written
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