Cover image for The gods of Egypt
The gods of Egypt
Traunecker, Claude.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Dieux de l'Egypte. English
First Eng. language edition, enhanced and expanded.
Publication Information:
Ithaca [NY] : Cornell University Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
x, 134 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL2450.G6 T7313 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The Gods of Egypt, first published in France in 1992 and now in its third French edition, is a short, elegant, and highly accessible survey of ancient Egyptian religion. The clarity and brevity of Claude Traunecker's book make it especially valuable to readers seeking an authoritative introduction to this complex topic. The Cornell edition, the first English translation, is enhanced by 23 illustrations.

Traunecker begins with an overview of the source materials and a discussion of the historiography of Egyptian religion, a subject relatively neglected by scholars. He then describes the actual and metaphysical worlds inhabited by the Egyptiandeities and the role that humans played in the Egyptian universe. Focusing especially on the diversity and number of approaches used by Egyptians to explain their world, The Gods of Egypt offers a succinct and highly readable presentation of recent interpretations of Egyptian religion.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In a brilliant compression of data united by informed judgments on "the gods of [ancient] Egypt," Traunecker (Univ. of Strasbourg) in 1992 replaced the "previous [French] edition" of Francois Daumas (1965; 3rd. rev., 1977). This book reads well if one knows the subject. Otherwise much is assumed--sometimes prior to subsequent discussion, but sometimes not within this "concise introduction"--relying instead on "expanded" endnotes. The present publisher, with a well-translated text by American Egyptologist Lorton, claims enhancement and expansion: the former is a mere addition of 23 illustrations; the latter refers to English editions of Egyptian texts in translation (exclusively cited in the endnotes) and minimal updating of a limited bibliography. Throughout the translation is a strange juxtaposition of "real" (human realm) with "imaginary" (divine)--the former "apparent" but the latter "true," which hardly does justice to ancient Egyptian thought on cosmology, cosmogony, and the human situation. Transliterations often omit diacritical marks. The volume badly needs a chronology of historical events and cited literature. Anglo-American Egyptology is essentially ignored in the summaries of academic achievements; the index is notably incomplete. Yet the volume deserves broad attention as a replacement for older, uncritical works on the "polymorphic and polyvalent" nature of these "gods." General readers; upper-division undergraduates through faculty/researchers; professionals. C. C. Smith emeritus, University of Wisconsin--River Falls