Kemet Klub

Rethinking Egyptian Religion


Dr Huw Twiston Davies
Sunday 7th and 14th July 2024

Certificate of Completion


At the end of this course you will be able to download a personalised certificate of completion from the classroom. A great way to keep track of your learning and celebrate your Egyptological journey.

Rethinking Egyptian Religion With Dr Huw Twiston Davies

4 lectures delivered over 2 afternoons. Sunday 7th and 14th July 2024
2pm UK time.

We love to see you for the live lectures, but if you have to miss one, don't worry, you can of course catch up (or watch again) at your leisure via the recordings. You will have access to the recorded lectures for a whole month after the last live lecture. Recordings will be available until 19th August

Religion in ancient Egypt is often portrayed as hierarchical, static, and driven by royal and political imperatives and directions, with a focus on specific beliefs about the gods, underlying myths, and the search for a single, coherent theology hidden in the surviving remains.

 This course takes a different approach, starting from the surviving evidence to try and reshape our ideas of what Egyptian religion was, how it worked, and what was important.  

We will  attempt to uncover elements of what it was really like to take part in the rites and rituals of ancient Egypt, and what it may have meant to the participants. 

Drawing on artistic and textual evidence, the course will examine the role of music in religion, the importance of personal experience, and the connection between personal and communal experiences of the divine.

Join us for 4 lectures delivered over 4 afternoons as we try to understand the reality of ancient Egyptian religion. To look beyond the state narrative to try to explore the religious actions and experiences of the people living and worshipping in pharaonic times. 

Lecture 1: Doing and believing
This lecture will explore what we mean by religion, and ancient religion in particular, considering our own frames of reference and how we apply those to the ancient past, and thinking about how we can get a better insight into how the Egyptians thought about the topic.
Lecture 2: Image, text, action!
This lecture goes deeper into the problems of the surviving evidence, by looking at the ways in which texts and images which depict religious action do and don’t tell us about what this actually involved, and the limitations these place on our ability to reconstruct ancient religious practices.
Lecture 3: Seeing perfection: encountering God
This lecture examines temple ritual, its connection with non-priests, and the experience of the divine in ancient Egypt, and its relationship with beauty and sensual experience, particularly in the New Kingdom.
Lecture 4: Fear, Death and the Beyond: Pessimism and the Hereafter
Traditional accounts of Egyptian beliefs about the next world emphasise positive depictions of the next world and the belief that ancient Egyptians looked forward to a pleasant existence in the next world. In this lecture, we will instead look at the evidence for the opposite view – that the next world and death were feared then as now, and use this as a frame for understanding why wealthy Egyptians invested so much in afterlife preparation.

Dr Huw Twiston Davies

Huw Twiston Davies is a lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Manchester. He completed his PhD on ancient Egyptian literature at the University of Liverpool in 2018. He has also worked at Leiden University on the research project ‘The Walking Dead at Saqqara: The Making of a Cultural Geography’ (2018-2021), and at the Garstang Museum of Archaeology (2015-2017, 2022). His research focuses on manuscript traditions in ancient Egypt, focusing in partiuclar on literary texts, as well as covering the use of the Book of the Dead in tombs. His book The Transmission of the Book of the Dead in New Kingdom Tombs at Saqqara, will be published by Bloomsbury later this year.

Booking instructions

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Session links will be available in the course Classroom. Room opens 30 minutes before the lecture begins. If you do not have the course link or have any other queries please get in touch

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