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Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion

Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion

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Excerpt from Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion: As Illustrated by the Religion of Ancient Egypt, Delivered in May and June, 1879

The only alterations which have been made in the text of these Lectures are corrections of a few errata and of the transcriptions of a couple of Egyptian words. Other corrections will be found in the notes. My general views remain unchanged, but the continued study of Egyptian texts has led me to the solution of an important problem arising out of the conclusions arrived at in the Lectures.

"The Egyptian mythology, as far as I can see," it is said, p. 250, "dealt only with those phenomena of nature which are conspicuously the result of fixed law, such as the rising and setting of the sun, moon and stars."

This is most strictly true if spoken of the gocls of Egypt. Every one of these gods represents a fixed and unalterable Law. It is in consequence of the unvaried succession of physical phenomena that a god is said to be neb mciat, an expression literally translated by "lord of law," but really signifying " conspicuous by fixed rule." And it may be held as certain that every explanation of an Egyptian god or goddess which does not satisfy this canon is utterly erroneous.

But Egyptian mythology was not confined to the persons of gods. There are mythological personages who are never spoken of as gods. Mythological personification does not necessarily imply deification.

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