Ancient Egypt 2675-332 B.c.e.: Religion - Research Article from Arts and Humanities Through the Eras

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Ethics

Religious Worldview.

For the ancient Egyptians the matter of ethics was firmly grounded in their religious world view, so much so that one scholar has written that "in the Egyptian's terms, morality and religion can hardly be separated." At the basis of all moral and ethical behavior in ancient Egypt was the concept of maat, which was also an essential element of kingship. It was every Egyptian's duty to conduct his or her life in accordance with maat (truth), and to avoid committing deeds considered isfet ("wrongdoing") or gereget ("falsehood"), the opposite of maat. In this way, the continued existence and prosperity of Egypt was assured. Our main source of knowledge concerning what behavior was in accordance with maat is the instruction literature from ancient Egypt. These texts, similar to the biblical...

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