Archaic Egyptian cosmology

El Sayed El-Aswad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper is an anthropological reading of mythical and historical texts aimed at exploring the dynamics by which archaic Egyptian cosmology was constructed and reconstructed. Using Dumont's ideas of hierarchy and Sahlins' work on cultural reproduction, the study presents a synchronic and diachronic analysis of the underlying themes and principles upon which archaic Egyptian cosmology was constructed. The opposition of visible/invisible is the common principle around which other principles or sets of oppositions are clustered. The study shows that archaic Egyptian cosmology underwent a transformation from a structure based on natural entities into socially significant cosmological system. The paper further elaborates the striking homology between the archaic social cosmology represented in Osirian mythology and Christianity in the early centuries of the Christian era.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-81
Number of pages13
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Cosmology
  • Egypt
  • Folklore
  • Middle East
  • Symbolic anthropology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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