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Title: Agents of transmission: Egyptian priests and traditional sacerdotal lore
Author: West, Nick
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 1010
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2012
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The thesis explores the extant evidence concerning the transmission of traditional sacerdotal lore by Egyptian priests into the wider Mediterranean during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. I focus on the following research questions. 1) What does the fragmentary evidence tell us about the activities of Egyptian priests concerning the transmission of sacerdotal lore? 2) What is the range of information disseminated by Egyptian priests into a Greek cultural milieu? 3) How influential was the literary output of Egyptian priests upon subsequent Greek writers? 4) Should we distinguish sharply between literary personae impersonating Egyptian priests and historical priestly individuals? 5) How do notions of the Egyptian priesthood in Graeco-Roman literature from the Hellenistic and Roman periods compare with earlier Greek literature? 6) How have modem scholars interpreted the notion of Egyptian priestly transmission and what role does this notion play in hypotheses concerning magical traditions such as characteres'l 7) How does priestly agency affect current beliefs about Greek and Egyptian cultural interaction? The thesis may be divided roughly into two distinct parts. The first, comprising chapters one to four, focuses on literary texts while the second, comprising chapters five to seven, analyses a variety of Late Antique magical artefacts. Chapter one compares the Osiris myth of Plutarch and Diodorus with native Egyptian sources in light of the influence of Manetho. Chapter two explores the influence of Chaeremon on subsequent Greek authors on animals and religious practices. Chapter three examines the relationship between Greek zoological notions of Egyptian animals and the allegorical interpretation of hieroglyphics. Chapter four reassesses the Hieroglyphica of Horapollo in light of sacerdotal presentation strategies in Iamblichus' De Mysteriis and other texts. Chapter five explores priestly influence on iconography found in Late Antique magical gems and papyri. Chapters six and seven reassess the purported Egyptian background and Egyptian priests' contribution to the magical characteres. - 2-
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available