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By Scholars Press / 1995/
In the middle of the fourteenth century B.C.E., Egypt’s polytheistic religion was suddenly attacked by its most traditional upholder, the pharaoh. The short-lived revolution that followed continues to be as disturbing and enigmatic as the “heretic king,” Akhenaten, who set it in motion. Was Akhenaten the first monotheist, as he is widely reputed to be, or was he an opportunist, possibly even an atheist, who cloaked a political revolution in religious terms? Modern readers will now find it easier to address such questions by using this wide-ranging collection of documents, many of them never before translated into English, in which the full sweep of one of ancient history’s most fascinating periods lives anew.
The late William Murnane received his B.A. from St. Anselm’s College and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He was the author or editor of 12 books, including The Temple of Khonsu, and wrote hundreds of articles on ancient history and culture. He was a visiting professor of Egyptology at the University of California at Berkeley and then joined the Department of History at the University of Memphis, which is where he taught courses on Egyptology and world civilization.