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Canaanite-Kemetic Syncretism (Finally started)
01-26-2010, 07:03 AM
Post: #1
Canaanite-Kemetic Syncretism (Finally started)
I told SuperMod I'd start this thread, but now I'm not quite sure what to say exactly. Perhaps SuperMod or others can come along and ask questions.

Canaanite religion was polytheistic, focusing on the worship of household spirits and ancestor veneration first, and the larger gods second, unless you were actively a priest or priestess. They worshiped a pantheon of deities, presided over by El and his main consort, Asherah.

Out of Canaanite polytheism, Judaism developed, you can see this in the writings of the Tanakh itself -- how Rachel stole the household idols because she could not be without them, Jeremiah referring to Asherah as the Queen of Heaven, the use of the name El in the Bible, even Asherah poles being constructed in the temple itself -- the founding matriarch of two Jewish tribes being a priestess of a Canaanite goddess, to urning Queen Ithabaal into Queen Jezebel. There was a power struggle between monotheism and polytheism in the Levant.

However, elsewhere, the Canaanite gods were honored and worshiped. The big example of this is Egypt, or Kemet. Travel between Egypt and Canaan was common, the Canaanites were traders. During the eleventh dynasty in Egypt, they were suddenly a driving force, settling in cities like Avaris. They actually ruled Egypt, and brought with them their gods.

Anat had temples in Avaris and Memphis
Kothar-wa-Khasis had a temple in Memphis
Qetesh had temples in Saqqara and Dendera
Shalim was worshipped in all of Ra's temples for three dynasties

Et cetera. The two religions syncretised, added to each other, but the gods remained who they were Anat was Anat not Neith, though she was "adopted" by Ra, Qetesh was Qetesh and not Hathor, it wasn't until after the Canaanites were drummed out of power that the pharohs actually tried to diminish the worship of Canaanite gods by defining them by Egyptian counterparts.
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01-26-2010, 10:54 AM
Post: #2
RE: Canaanite-Kemetic Syncretism (Finally started)
(01-26-2010 07:03 AM)Merit Wrote:  I told SuperMod I'd start this thread, but now I'm not quite sure what to say exactly. Perhaps SuperMod or others can come along and ask questions.

Canaanite religion was polytheistic, focusing on the worship of household spirits and ancestor veneration first, and the larger gods second, unless you were actively a priest or priestess. They worshiped a pantheon of deities, presided over by El and his main consort, Asherah.

Out of Canaanite polytheism, Judaism developed, you can see this in the writings of the Tanakh itself -- how Rachel stole the household idols because she could not be without them, Jeremiah referring to Asherah as the Queen of Heaven, the use of the name El in the Bible, even Asherah poles being constructed in the temple itself -- the founding matriarch of two Jewish tribes being a priestess of a Canaanite goddess, to urning Queen Ithabaal into Queen Jezebel. There was a power struggle between monotheism and polytheism in the Levant.

However, elsewhere, the Canaanite gods were honored and worshiped. The big example of this is Egypt, or Kemet. Travel between Egypt and Canaan was common, the Canaanites were traders. During the eleventh dynasty in Egypt, they were suddenly a driving force, settling in cities like Avaris. They actually ruled Egypt, and brought with them their gods.

Anat had temples in Avaris and Memphis
Kothar-wa-Khasis had a temple in Memphis
Qetesh had temples in Saqqara and Dendera
Shalim was worshipped in all of Ra's temples for three dynasties

Et cetera. The two religions syncretised, added to each other, but the gods remained who they were Anat was Anat not Neith, though she was "adopted" by Ra, Qetesh was Qetesh and not Hathor, it wasn't until after the Canaanites were drummed out of power that the pharohs actually tried to diminish the worship of Canaanite gods by defining them by Egyptian counterparts.


My first question is about history. Do you have a source describing how the Canaanites ruled Egypt in the Eleventh Dynasty? This dynasty marked the reunification of Upper and Lower Egypt after the dark period following the collapse of the central government of the Old Kingdom. Egypt was then ruled from Thebes in southern Egypt. Every source I have available, from Breasted to Wiki makes no mention of Canaan in respect to the Eleventh Dynasty or to Canaan as other than an on-again off-again province or tributary of Egypt.

My own inclination is that the El religion was simply native to Canaan. The Yahweh religion arose among emigrants from Egypt, possibly influenced by the Aten cult or IMO more likely the Amun-Re cult, which had strict commandments (which Aten apparently did not.) Although Egyptian religion was polytheistic, the Amun-Re religion was so strong it might as well have been monotheism.

Quote:Amun-Re grew so important spiritually and politically by the time of the New Kingdom that Egypt became something of a Theocracy. At the apex of his worship, Egyptian religion approached monotheism. The other gods became mere symbols of his power, or manifestations of Amun-Re. In essence, he became the one and only supreme deity.
http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/amun-re.htm

In my view, Judaism developed from a collision between the Egyptian derived Jahwist (J) tradition and the native Canaan based Elohist (E) tradition. We see in the Pentateuch traces of each merged together with the occasional reference to other gods. The J and E traditions apparently originated in Judah in the south and Israel in the north respectively. These two traditions were redacted into a more or less integrated story. However the stories were by then already quite similar, although usually distinguishable. My interest is in how the clearly polytheistic El religion became essentially monotheistic and assumed many of the characteristics of the Yahweh religion in a time when the northern and southern tribes were frequently at war.
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01-26-2010, 11:15 AM
Post: #3
RE: Canaanite-Kemetic Syncretism (Finally started)
The Canaanite immigration began in the Eleventh Dynasty, they ruled during the Second Intermediate Period, the Hyskos period. It's in the Eleventh dynasty we see Canaanite religion begin to flourish in Avaris.

As for how it happened, I don't know, we don't have rnuch archeological evidence of the time in Israel. We know it was an uphill battle, that there would be strongholds of polytheism, they'd get stamped out, everyone would tra-la-la along, until one cropped up again.

One conjecture a historian friend of mine hs is to do with molk sacrifice, that the monotheists would take control and demand that if El was so poweful, he could stop the birning of infants, like Abraham and Isaac, but that's just a hypothesis from molk graveyards found in Israel during times of unrest.
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01-26-2010, 12:48 PM
Post: #4
RE: Canaanite-Kemetic Syncretism (Finally started)
(01-26-2010 11:15 AM)Merit Wrote:  The Canaanite immigration began in the Eleventh Dynasty, they ruled during the Second Intermediate Period, the Hyskos period. It's in the Eleventh dynasty we see Canaanite religion begin to flourish in Avaris.

As for how it happened, I don't know, we don't have much archeological evidence of the time in Israel. We know it was an uphill battle, that there would be strongholds of polytheism, they'd get stamped out, everyone would tra-la-la along, until one cropped up again.

One conjecture a historian friend of mine has is to do with molk sacrifice, that the monotheists would take control and demand that if El was so powerful, he could stop the burning of infants, like Abraham and Isaac, but that's just a hypothesis from molk graveyards found in Israel during times of unrest.

The Hyksos immigration, including people of Canaanite ethnicity, began in the Eleventh Dynasty and continued until the Fifteenth Dynasty. I was thinking in terms of some political/military entity based in Canaan taking over Egypt, something that did not happen. The term Hyksos is not necessarily limited to Canaanites. Nonetheless we do not see Hyksos rule over Egypt until the Fifteenth Dynasty.

Eqyptian polytheism is vastly more ancient than that. It is the syncretization (or perhaps agglomeration is a better word) of the many deities worshipped by the scattered tribes of the Nile Valley that took place when Menes united Upper and Lower Egypt way back in the First Dynasty. Although Amun-Re is documented as far back as the Fifth Dynasty and may be much older, it is during the Eleventh Dynasty that this god begins to dominate others, culminating in a nearly monotheistic theocracy in the Eighteenth Dynasty. It would appear that an already existing polytheism began to decline in importance in favor of an effective monotheism during exactly the period when the Hyksos were supposedly importing polytheism.

http://www.touregypt.net/gods1.htm
http://wysinger.homestead.com/amunre.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amun
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01-26-2010, 03:34 PM
Post: #5
RE: Canaanite-Kemetic Syncretism (Finally started)
Oh, James Henry Breasted, my hero... Anyways, I should make a contribution: During the estimated era in which the Hebrews were said to be enslaved by the Egyptians, there are no records of the word Hebrew. Instead, the word Apiru, referring to groups of outcasts, bandit, caravan drivers, and other "scum". Note how close Hebrew and Apiru sound.
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01-26-2010, 03:47 PM
Post: #6
RE: Canaanite-Kemetic Syncretism (Finally started)
this pisses me off ... the misunderstanding of egyptian religion... they believed in many gods because that is what the term means ..... beings proceeding from the great gods Amen and Amennette.. however the egyptians always believe in one supreme being ... who made Amen and Amennette which thus created the universe..... we are all gods ..... again the meaning of god = " the children of Amen and Amennette. We as humans have lost those god like powers ie. telapaths, gravity levitation, outer body travel through space. etc....the mystery schools of egypt taught this .. they taught plato, sacraties, aristotle...sacraties tried to convince athens of this new way of looking at the universe. they called him pagan and ordered him to drink to his death. He could have escaped, but learned about the afterlife and reincarnation and was unconcerned about death. The pharoahs of egypt was considered gods on earth becuase they masterd the knowledge taught in the mystery schools. All the differences in egyptian religion was results of foreign invaders who slowly diluted kemetic religion which outdates any christain or islamic religion... and is the true religion.
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01-26-2010, 03:54 PM
Post: #7
RE: Canaanite-Kemetic Syncretism (Finally started)
Actually you are completely wrong about that. Depending on the myth, there were many different Egyptian "creator" deities. There were also the primal deities who simply always existed.

Egypt was a union between individual city-states. Each city-state had their particular god, or gods. As the cities merged, those gods became entangled in each other in their individual myths. Thus Sekhmet becomes the Eye of Ra (or Hathor in some versions,) and Sekhmet, Hathor, and Bast get mixed up all the time.

But there was certainly never one single creator deity. Some followed Ptah, some Amen, etc. Any true monotheistic ideas in Egypt came much later, after the original beliefs were corrupted by other philosophies and the Greek and Roman conquests.

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01-26-2010, 04:03 PM
Post: #8
RE: Canaanite-Kemetic Syncretism (Finally started)
(01-26-2010 03:54 PM)GTseng3 Wrote:  Actually you are completely wrong about that. Depending on the myth, there were many different Egyptian "creator" deities. There were also the primal deities who simply always existed.

Egypt was a union between individual city-states. Each city-state had their particular god, or gods. As the cities merged, those gods became entangled in each other in their individual myths. Thus Sekhmet becomes the Eye of Ra (or Hathor in some versions,) and Sekhmet, Hathor, and Bast get mixed up all the time.

But there was certainly never one single creator deity. Some followed Ptah, some Amen, etc. Any true monotheistic ideas in Egypt came much later, after the original beliefs were corrupted by other philosophies and the Greek and Roman conquests.
no sir .. these are all misinterpretations..... there was always a supreme being ... who birth Amen and Amenette.... now the name may have been different through out the tribes ... try this web site if you want the truth about afu ra kanu and afu rait kait peoples and there religion..... the egyptian religion as we know today was already in the process of de-evolution... with the so many invaders of afu ra ka land.
http://www.thankaboutit.org/gpage3.html
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01-26-2010, 06:41 PM (This post was last modified: 01-27-2010 02:41 AM by Venedi Sporoi.)
Post: #9
RE: Canaanite-Kemetic Syncretism (Finally started)
The article provided has its own agenda, clearly. When it comes to sources, it's better if the person writing is interested only in the subject matter itself, and it also keeps us from having to search through a lot of unrelated information to find your evidence.

The ancient Egyptians did have a number of creation stories. One in Hermopolis seems to have had eight creative deities, four of each gender, whereas the one with Atum has one creator. In part, the "one creator" of the Atum tale is because the multiple-creator version personifies Nu, the waters in which Atum dwelt at the beginning, as a God in itself. The Atum tale does not. It's a much more indistinct picture than you're painting. Even then though, having a God responsible for initiating the world is not the same as having one supreme creator in the Abrahamic or monotheistic sense. It is Abrahamic thinking to see 'God' behind every creator, whereas polytheists sometimes only saw creation as one role of many.
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01-26-2010, 09:10 PM
Post: #10
RE: Canaanite-Kemetic Syncretism (Finally started)
Quite frankly, Kamonra, your beliefs are in no way a reflection of ancient Egypt. You believe in your own system that share certain names and attributes with the Egyptian gods, but the ancient Egyptians did not follow your faith any more than the ancient Jews followed Christianity. I doubt you will find any historians or anthropologists who have found signs of your particular mythology in Ancient Egypt, whereas the truth of Egyptian belief can be deduced from what they left behind.

So there is certainly a misinterpretation here, but it is not on the fault of the historians (nor on me.)

I'm back baby! Thanks for everyone who sent me PMs asking what had happened to me.
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