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Moses the Egyptian [Format Kindle]

Jan Assmann

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Présentation de l'éditeur

Standing at the very foundation of monotheism, and so of Western culture, Moses is a figure not of history, but of memory. As such, he is the quintessential subject for the innovative historiography Jan Assmann both defines and practices in this work, the study of historical memory--a study, in this case, of the ways in which factual and fictional events and characters are stored in religious beliefs and transformed in their philosophical justification, literary reinterpretation, philological restitution (or falsification), and psychoanalytic demystification.

To account for the complexities of the foundational event through which monotheism was established, Moses the Egyptian goes back to the short-lived monotheistic revolution of the Egyptian king Akhenaten (1360-1340 B.C.E.). Assmann traces the monotheism of Moses to this source, then shows how his followers denied the Egyptians any part in the origin of their beliefs and condemned them as polytheistic idolaters. Thus began the cycle in which every "counter-religion," by establishing itself as truth, denounced all others as false. Assmann reconstructs this cycle as a pattern of historical abuse, and tracks its permutations from ancient sources, including the Bible, through Renaissance debates over the basis of religion to Sigmund Freud's Moses and Monotheism. One of the great Egyptologists of our time, and an exceptional scholar of history and literature, Assmann is uniquely equipped for this undertaking--an exemplary case study of the vicissitudes of historical memory that is also a compelling lesson in the fluidity of cultural identity and beliefs.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 4116 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 288 pages
  • Editeur : Harvard University Press (30 juin 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00B22HRTW
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Composition améliorée: Non activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°215.995 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  15 commentaires
50 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The mnemohistory of Egyptian monotheism 2 décembre 2001
Par Christopher I. Lehrich - Publié sur Amazon.com
As several readers have pointed out, Assmann's work is not really suitable to the casual reader, nor the reader unlearned in Latin. That said, most reviewers have suggested that the book be reviewed by someone fairly up on the field.
Assmann calls his project a "mnemohistory," meaning by this a history of the way certain aspects of an ancient history are remembered and distorted over time. The central focus of this mnemohistory, as indicated by the title, is Moses and his Egyptian origins. Assmann is a distinguished Egyptologist, so he wants to root this mnemohistory in Egypt, not in any of the numerous pseudo- or para-Egyptian texts (the Hermetica, for example, or Plato's various renderings of Egypt). In short, the question is this: What, if anything, might ancient Egyptian historical events have to do with later Western conceptions of (1) Egypt, (2) Judaism, (3) Moses, and (4) monotheism in general?

Assmann begins with a seemingly radical thesis: that the historical figure(s) represented in "Moses" was an Egyptian priestly exponent of the Akhenaten/Amarna monotheism, which lasted a couple hundred years and ended under the reign of Tutankhamun. The implication of this is that Judaism, and in particular Mosaic Law, was constructed as a counter-religion to normative (i.e. non-Akhenaten) Egyptian religion.
Having demonstrated that this thesis is plausible, Assmann moves on to examine how this peculiar origin of Judeo-Christian ritual and legal prescription was remembered and reinterpreted across the millennia. He examines Maimonides, John Spencer, and Ralph Cudworth, showing them all recognizing the Judaism-equals-Egypt-backwards connection, but interpreting it variously for philoSemitic, antiSemitic, philoEgyptian, or other purposes.
Next, he moves on to examine the flowering and spreading of this debate through the eighteenth century, where it influenced Deist and Masonic discourse, as well as that of major philosophers. Finally, he moves to what seems to me the heart of the book, an analysis of Freud's _Moses and Monotheism_, examining the ways in which Freud utilizes psychoanalytic techniques to reveal the same half-remembered ancient trauma beneath the very origins of monotheism --- that is, Freud realizes that the hideous cultural trauma inflicted upon Egyptian culture by the Akhenaten revolution led to suppression, repression, and thus to expression in not only monotheism but also a violent aversion for monotheism's apparent originators. In short, Freud discovers in the Amarna trauma the repressed origins of anti-Semitism.
The book concludes with an Egyptologist's analysis of the monotheism of Amarna, on which this reader is not able to pronounce; that said, Assmann's credentials certainly suggest that this should be a most expert reconstruction.
_Moses the Egyptian_ is an extraordinary piece of visionary scholarship, wide-ranging and courageous, but copiously annotated and supported. If, having read this review, you think this book sounds like the niftiest approach to Foucaultian archaeology, or some similar theoretical structure, this book is probably for you. If, on the other hand, you want a careful history in the more classic sense of a narrative, with people and events, and some sort of proof of who Moses "really was," you're not going to get much out of this.
28 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Historical-Philosophical Discourse 24 novembre 2001
Par E. Rodin MD - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This book is a scholarly discourse as to how the memory of Egyptian monotheism survived in Western Culture. I use the word scholarly advisedly, not only because the book is well researched and annotated but it is also written for scholars. It does not lend itself to cursory reading but needs to be studied. This may be the reason why previous reviewers, although favorable,did not inform the reader of the points made in the book.
For me the most important aspect was that Assmann clearly distinguishes between Moses as a historic figure and Moses as portrayed in the literature. He calls this phenomenon mnemohistory. Namely history not as it transpired according to current knowledge but history as it is remembered. This is important because we know nothing about the historic Moses. Assmann then goes on to describe previous views held about Moses having been culturally,if not ethnically, an Egyptian and how he had created a counter-religion to Egyptian practices. He reviews the works of authors ranging from the 17th to the 20th century; with a number of them having passed into oblivion over the centuries. Assmann also subscribes to Freud's view that Akhenaten's monotheism was the model upon which Moses had built his own edifice. Others may argue that the biblical Moses was not yet a true monotheist because the god of Moses is still in competition with other existing gods. Had he indeed been the universal cosmic god of Akhenaten he would not need to have been "jealous" or to "magnify" himself on the Egyptians, as the Bible repeatedly tells us. Assmann accepts,furthermore, Freud's idea of repressed trauma which remains latent in the subconcious where it acts as a disturbing element and eventually breaks back into consciousness in distorted form. This is not a biologic fact but merely psychoanalytic theory. Although popular at this time, it has not been proven to occur in individuals let alone ethnic groups or nations.
The book also abounds with Latin and French quotations which are not always translated. The Greek and German ones are. Thus a proper evaluation of this book requires information which the average - even reasonably well educated - American reader does not readily possess. This also highlights the problem one has with a single 1-5 star rating system. For scholarship it deserves the four stars given but for ease of readability I would have to reduce them to about 2. The book will,therefore, be best appreciated by professionals in the field rather than laypersons.
13 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Searching Moses in the Memory of Kemetic Egypt 8 janvier 2005
Par Didaskalex - Publié sur Amazon.com
"One would call this work monumental ..., if there were no risk of distracting the reader thereby with what might otherwise appear as a facile and predictable pun." T. Lawson, Folklore Bulletin

Prologue, Assmann's Models:
In 1984 Jan Assmann undertook the ambitious task of investigating the nature of Ancient Egyptian theology that has so fundamentally influenced studies on Egyptian religion. His impact was so great that many of his models have since been adopted in recent scholarship. Building on M. Halbwach's concept of memory as a social phenomenon as well as an individual one, the Freudian psychodrama of repressing and ultimately resurrecting the past, he writes a unique study, Moses the Egyptian.

Amarna Monotheism:
The 'Amarna heresy', or Atenism is thought to be the earliest monotheistic religious revelation ever, with a wealth of devotion and worship hymns of Aten. Atenism was associated mainly with the eighteenth dynasty Prophetic Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, better known as Akhenaten, the name he adopted. Recent Egyptologists indicate there are proofs that Aten was becoming more known during the eighteenth dynasty - notably Amenhotep III calling of his royal barge as the 'Spirit of the Aten.' Ultimately, it was Amenhotep IV who introduced Aten as the sole deity in his revolution, in a series of decreed steps culminating in the official endorsement of Aten as the sole universal god for the Egyptian Empire, and beyond. It was established as Egypt's state religion for around two decades, in the 14th century BC, before a violent return to the traditional Amen and Egyptian pantheon gods, while the name of the 'heretic Pharaoh' associated with Aten was completely erased from the Egyptian records.

The Mind of Egypt:
Our western civilization is influenced in many ways by perspectives that originated in the Heliopolitan theology, such as the concept of monotheism. How and why monotheism became what it did has its source in Egypt as well. Without an understanding of how the Egyptians viewed the idea of the unity principle, 'one god, Lord of the Pantheon,' it will be difficult to see how this concept became corrupted through misapplication over time.
The enormous influence of the mind of Egypt on our continuing present is one of the stronger messages here, and this influence has made itself felt in a number of areas, not least the very modern study of religion itself. Assmann points out that even our concepts of monotheism and polytheism were hammered out in the burgeoning discourse of seventeenth century Egyptology. Todd Lawson, Toronto University.

Heidelberg's Egyptologist in America:
Would you have visited Heidelberg, it's castle and university, you will have appreciated the rigor in color of German scholarship in a field that was a quasi monopoly for few European students of the great Civilization, formulated as the science of Egyptology. The idea of biblical revelation that stunned the young American Orientalist J. H. Breasted, when he studied ancient Egypt's moral codes, persuaded him to pursue his great adventure into the 'Dawn of Conscience', in ancient Egypt, a comparative study of Hebrew wisdom poetry with its analogous Egyptian parallels; impacted the twenty century religious imagination from Freud to Assmann. When Professor Assmann was invited by J. P. Getty center for a sabbatical in California, he decided to explore 'the vast terrain between Akhen'Aten and Freud.' in reply to 'Freud's Moses', and recap on his search of almighty God in Egypt (The Mind of Egypt), as an introduction to the same author's Moses the Egyptian

Assmann's Themes:
Assmann gave his work an Egyptian concept, advancing onto seven consecutive waves, inscribed onto the chapters of his book. He starts with a para-psychological definition of Egyptian thought construction as Mnemo-history, advancing into Suppressed history of Repressed memory of Akhenaten in Moses conscience, proceeding to Spencer's findings as 'before the Law.' The crux of his advancement to his ultimate thesis lies in a historical review of eighteenth century discourse on Moses. Freud shows up in a psychological spear head idea; 'the Return of the repressed,' the roots of Egyptian monotheistic theology of the elite was conceived in the 'One,' the master of Egyptian Pantheons, Aten, or Amon-Rae. Concluding into what breasted initiated eighty years ago: abolishing the Mosaic monopoly of revelation. Marvelous!

Scholar's Evaluation:
The Egyptians' experiment and successes with the modalities and rhetoric's of religion and politics would be felt not only by the heroes of the venture of Ebionite Islam, but also their Semitic kins amongst the Hebrews. All these various actors and audiences, the Greeks, Romans and Persians, were imbued to some degree or another with something of the Mind of Egypt since ancient times, through the triple agency of what the author calls Traces, Messages and Memories. ... Professor Assmann has fashioned for the scholar and general inquirer a key to ancient Egypt that is a pleasure to read, thrilling in its insights, and awe-inspiring as regards the multiple scholarly tools so clearly and masterfully employed.

Conceiving Reality:
I refrain from my all for Assmann old/new thesis which he perfected to quoting a more informed evaluation of A. Grafton, in New Republic; "A brilliant study...Assmann combines great technical virtuosity in his chosen field with wide-very wide-theoretical and comparative interests... Moses the Egyptian offers challenging new findings on the early history of monotheism, and a new reading in the place of Egypt in Modern Western culture-"
While the Hebrews were collaborative in the Egyptian prince Moses' liberation scheme, in both senses of body and soul, the Jewish people rejected the Messiah of their own national stock!
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Subject 17 juin 2015
Par Kindle Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
While I love the subject this book I felt like it added little new scholarship to the discourse. It highlighted other authors in a detailed manner, and while some original ways of looking at data did make an appearance, most of this book, while good, was an exercise in summary (historiography) of past authors. Which there is nothing wrong with I was simply expecting more original interpretation than what I actually felt like I received.
4.0 étoiles sur 5 How people have perceived Israel and Egypt through history 30 janvier 2016
Par DAJ - Publié sur Amazon.com
Though its title would seem to suggest otherwise, this book never really addresses the question of whether Moses existed or whether Israelite monotheism is derived from Akhenaten's apparent religious exclusivism. Inspired by Sigmund Freud's Moses and Monotheism, Assmann treats both Akhenaten and Moses as emblematic of the shift from flexible polytheism to exclusivist monotheism, but he never says straight out whether there was any connection between them. Instead, he discusses "mnemohistory", the way a culture remembers and adapts its own past.

Manetho, a Hellenistic Egyptian historian, related a series of events that seems to have conflated events of Akhenaten's reign with the Hyksos, and both Apion and Josephus, writing in Roman times, connected Manetho's account with the Exodus story. Real or not, the connection between Moses and Egyptian religion took on a life of its own, and antiquarians in the 17th and 18th centuries created increasingly speculative and frankly silly theories on top of it, particularly once the Freemasons got involved. The emergence of Egyptology banished their theories to the dustbin. Freud, apparently unaware of the antiquarians' work but armed with early 20th-century understandings of Akhenaten's religious revolution, was the first to bring Akhenaten back into the equation.

Assmann seems to have become enamored of the topics he discusses in this book, because he's written several more covering different parts of the same ground. Many of them probably make the kind of excessively sweeping claims Assman is prone to. One of them in particular, The Price of Monotheism, has drawn controversy for its assumption that religious intolerance originated with the exclusivist monotheism pioneered by Akhenaten and perpetuated by Judaism and its offshoots. However, I don't think the exaggerated claims are too much of a problem in this book.

Anyone who wants to know whether Israelite monotheism is related to Akhenaten's should look at recent scholarship on biblical history, like Ancient Israel: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It? (The short answer is that they are almost certainly not related.) Apparently Assmann's concept of mnemohistory has proven useful in examining how the Israelites envisioned their origins. But Assmann's book in itself isn't helpful for understanding the purported link between Israel and Egypt. It's really about the history of Western perceptions of ancient Egypt, and it complements several other books on that topic. It fleshes out the details of some subjects discussed in Akhenaten: History, Fantasy, and Ancient Egypt, The Secret Lore of Egypt and The Wisdom of Egypt; shows some further consequences of the Masonic mythmaking described in Not Out of Africa; and provides some of the insights used in The Veil of Isis, another study of how ideas derived from Egypt meander and evolve through history.
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