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Ph.D. Thesis: The Cult of Re in the Old Kingdom

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My Ph.D. thesis was a prosopographical study of 149 holders of titles in the cult of Re (Ra) in the Old Kingdom. It was submitted in March 2002, and I graduated in September 2002.

Selected comments from the examiners

Contents listing

I am currently revising and expanding the thesis for publication. I have listed the contents below. It is available for purchase in its original, dissertation form with minor cosmetic changes in order to make it accessible to other scholars until the revision is complete. This is no different to it appearing in Theses Online, or UMI. I do intend to publish it. All rights are reserved.

I am making it available because there has been an upsurge in interest in the Fifth Dynasty sun-temples over the years since I submitted the thesis. Perhaps my work will be of some interest to those who are studying this period.

NB The title is a bit misleading. This is not a definitive study of the cult of Re. I ran out of time at the end of my Ph.D. candidature to change the title to something more descriptive. This will be addressed when the thesis is published as a book.

The following PDF files are Copyright © 2002 by Gaye Wilson, and may be downloaded for private use only. They may not be commercially distributed or reproduced in quantity without written permission from the author.

Please direct any comments, corrections, or critiques to Gaye Wilson oldkingdomstudies @ gmail.com. (Remove the spaces between words.)

When I started to pdf the thesis to make it available here, I discovered that there were conversion issues due to my use of Inscribe in the thesis. The following notes were made in 2008, and are still here in the hope that the method I found to convert the glyphs accurately into pdf form is useful for others who use Inscribe.

Note 1, STOP PRESS 18th September 2008:

I am having trouble converting my thesis files into pdf. I have used Inscribe for the hieroglyphs, but they are not converting as glyphs in the pdf. At the moment, I am going through the very laborious and not very satisfactory method of copying the glyphs into Adobe Illustrator, and converting them into a web image which is then copied and pasted back into the document. Unfortunately, this results in a low-resolution image.

If you have any ideas on how I can fix this problem, please email me at oldkingdomstudies @ gmail.com (remove the spaces to get the correct email address). As soon as this problem is fixed, the rest of my thesis will be uploaded.

Note 2, UPDATE 4th October 2008:

I have discovered that using Adobe Acrobat to convert my Word files into pdf garbles the hieroglyphs made using Inscribe. However, some experimentation afer a suggestion from someone on the EEF list led me to try it using ScanSoft PDF Create. This works beautifully, and the hieroglyphs are perfect. Now I can convert my thesis files into pdf format without messing around with images for the hieroglyphs.

Note 3, 17th March 2012:

I actually ended up using doPDF (http://www.dopdf.com) to convert my Word files into pdf. This works, whereas Acrobat Professional does not. DoPDF is a free pdf converter that claims to convert from any application. You simply print to doPDF. Sorry, this seems to be Windows only.

Selected comments from the examiners

“This thesis deals with the chronological development of the cult of the sun-god Re in the Old Kingdom through the known titles held by its personnel. The author has assembled with diligence all available attested priestly and administrative titles of that period relevant to the cult of Re. The material is reviewed in a comprehensive and systematic manner with a meticulous and detailed examination of each title, its variations and its holders. Numerous tables companying the discussions in each chapter and extensive appendices incorporating 45 pages of charts and tables are valuable references in following the discussions, presented chronologically, of the patterns of place, time, orthography, other titles held by the personnel etc. Time-lines at the end of each chapter provide a convenient point of reference.”

Strengths of this thesis include:

  • “Clear circumscription of reason, previous research, and focus of present thesis, explicitly excluding certain aspects, while indicating further lines of possible research, revealing a consciousness of the complexity of the issues, as well as avoiding overambitiousness within the framework of the thesis
  • Very clear and systematic organisation and presentation of the source material in exhaustive tables and graphs covering virtually every imaginable (combination of) aspect(s) with a potential for extracting information
  • Critical and well-balanced analysis and/or discussion of: prosopographical data, dating problems, hieroglyphic spellings, use of (basic) statistics, leading to a number of interesting, innovative and convincing conclusions.”

Contribution to the literature

“The main concern is with the Re-titles and the ranks and functions of the solar clergy during the Old Kingdom, especially the fifth dynasty; however the work goes far beyond this purpose, casting new light not only on these religious aspects, but also on the administrative, political, social and economic fields.

From the collected and organized data, the author was able to draw statistics which are of outstanding interest; we dare say that these statistics will influence many Egyptologists in modifying or even rewriting some statements concerning not only the cult of Re but also the political and social history of the Old Kingdom. I sincerely think that the tables of the priests’ ranks together with these excellent statistics may stand from now on as a basic reference for scholars dealing with that period.”

Buy the thesis now

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Front matter and Contents (pdf, 405 kb)

Chapter 1: Introduction (pdf, 94 kb)

Chapter 2: The High Priesthood of Re

Chapter 3: Titles in the Sun-temple of Userkaf

Chapter 4: Titles in the Sun-temple of Neferirkare

Chapter 5: Titles in the Sun-temple of Neuserre

Chapter 6: The Minor Sun-temples

Chapter 7: Titles in the Cult of Re not associated with specific temples

Chapter 8: Conclusions

Chapter 9: Prosopography



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© Gaye Wilson, Ph.D. 2007. All rights reserved.
oldkingdomstudies @ gmail.com

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