Egyptian religion, the religious beliefs of the ancient inhabitants of Egypt. Information concerning ancient Egyptian religion is abundant but unsatisfactory. Only certain parts of Egyptian religious life and thought are known; whole periods remain in the dark. What we do know is that the religious beliefs of the Egyptians were riddled with inconsistencies and confusions. Many gods and goddesses seem more or less identical, and yet they existed together. Contradictory myths explaining the creation of the world, natural phenomena, and the like were accepted without argument. Attributes of deities were freely and indiscriminately adopted from one group or locality to another, and combinations and fusions of gods were frequent. It is impossible to discern an orderly and consistent picture of Egyptian religion, and much scholarship remains hypothesis and conjecture.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
Sections in this article:
- Development of a National Religion
- Early Beliefs
- The Major Cults
- The Role of the King
- Life after Death
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Ancient Religion