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Author Topic: THE GREAT ATEN  (Read 11991 times)
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Posts: 41646

« Reply #45 on: February 26, 2008, 12:59:09 pm »

The similarity is simply astounding.

Comparing these passages, who could argue against some form of cultural exchange moving
from Egypt to Israel—and, given the chronology, we must suppose the sharing took place in
that direction—how can we avoid the conclusion that the ancient Hebrew who wrote Psalm
104 has somehow borrowed from Akhenaten's Hymn to the Aten?

With that, the realization begins to dawn that answers to the great question about the origins
of Hebrew monotheism are not going to come swiftly or easily.

How did a Hebrew psalmist's eyes—or ears?—ever pass near a banned Egyptian hymn?

While the psalm is hardly a verbatim copy of its atenistic model, the likeness of these songs,
especially in their imagery and the order in which the images come, argues forcefully for some
sort of Egypt-to-Palestine contact, however indirect.

And if there is contact there, why not elsewhere? If that's the case, there clearly was some
channel of intercultural communication, some literary turnpike now invisible. But if we imagine
a road of some sort running between Akhetaten and ancient Jerusalem, what are we really

                                             a history or a novel?

And by doing so, are we not at risk of saying more about ourselves than the odd, beguiling
world Akhenaten built, whose slanted light still shines from beneath sand and walls and script

History, you'll remember, means "question," and that is exactly where the history of Akhen-
aten leaves us.


« Last Edit: March 09, 2008, 10:11:06 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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