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Author Topic: Mummy Wheat: Egyptian Influence on the Homeric View of the Afterlife and the Eleusinian Mysteries  (Read 2601 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Topic Start: February 20, 2010, 10:02:07 am »

Title: Mummy Wheat: Egyptian Influence on the Homeric View of the Afterlife and the Eleusinian Mysteries
Author(s): R. Drew Griffith
Publisher: Lanham:  University Press of America
Publication Date: 2008
ISBN: 0761842985
Current Price and More Info from Amazon

From the Bryn Mawr Classic Review:
Drew Griffith's Mummy Wheat is an important but controversial book that argues for Egyptian influence not only on Homer's viewpoint of the afterlife, but also on the Eleusinian mysteries and other aspects of the ancient Greek religious system. The author begins his discussion with a specific passage from Homer's Odyssey in which for the first time in Greek literature a reference to an Elysian plain (Ἠλύσιον πεδίον) is made. This new idea of the afterlife, according to the author, was imported from the Egyptian system of funerary ideas, expressed mainly in the collections of the Pyramid Texts, the Coffin Texts and the Book of the Dead. The author supports this argument, which has also been advanced and debated in earlier scholarly works, by collecting evidence for parallels and borrowings between the Homeric epics and the culture of ancient Egypt. In this way, the author argues against taking this reference to Elysium as an isolated parallel. Instead, according to him, one should consider this instance as part of a larger network of borrowed terms and ideas that penetrated Greek culture through Homer. Hence, this study is addressed mainly to classical philologists who are interested in topics of cultural interaction between ancient Greece and the Near East and thus conversant with a long scholarly debate to which well-acclaimed scholars, such as Walter Burkert and Martin West, as well as controversial ones, such as Martin Bernal, have so far contributed. The author cites these scholars very frequently and, in fact, often employs the questionable methods of Martin Bernal, using his type of etymological and other linguistic explanations as evidence for intercultural influence.

Read the full review at the Bryn Mawr Classic Review web site.

Additional Description:
Homer presents a world-view in which death represents the end of consciousness and total annihilation of personhood. Yet in Odyssey, Book Four, he contradicts this by saying that one man at least will not die, but will be transported to Elysium, where he will have a blessed existence forever. In Mummy Wheat R. Drew Griffith argues that this shocking violation of Homer's normal world-view comes from Egypt, where more than anywhere else in the ancient world people firmly believed in life after death.

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Legal Notes: Some description text and item pictures in this post may come from and are used by permission. The Cauldron is an Amazon Affiliate and purchases made through the Amazon links in this message help support The Cauldron.

Discussion and reviews of this book are welcome in this thread. If you've read the book, please tell us what you think of it and why.

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