Restless Dead and Ghosts in Ancient Egypt – Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ancient Egyptian demons return to New York!

Rita Lucarelli returns to Columbia University, New York for the eighth meeting of the Ancient Near Eastern Seminar of the 2012-13 academic year.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dr. Rita Lucarelli, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

Restless Dead and Ghosts in Ancient Egypt

Beliefs in ghosts and spirits of the dead are widespread in world religions. In ancient Egypt, however, there is a certain inconsistency in the mention of manifestations of the dead in magical and religious texts. This paper will present and discuss the varied terminological evidence which may indicate ghosts, revenants, and evil dead in the spells of daily magic as well as in mortuary compositions such as the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. In particular, two categories of spirits of the dead, such as the so-called akhw and mwtw-spirits, will be analyzed in comparison to the general concept of “ghost” in world religions, taking into account the ancient Egyptian ancestors cult and the belief in the “glorified” (akh) or “justified” (maa kherw) dead in mortuary religion.


The meeting will be held at the Columbia University Faculty House. We begin gathering at 5:00 PM in the first floor lounge, and the lecture will begin at 5:30 PM on the second floor, followed by optional dinner with the speaker at 7:00 PM at the restaurant just outside the seminar room. If you wish to make dinner reservations and join us (we will need to report the number of guests), please contact our seminar rapporteur, Hilah Loewenstein [], and for those without internet access, a phone call to me will be fine [(718) 817-3854]. The buffet dinner costs $25, and you must pay the rapporteur in check. We must have your reservation request one week in advance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s