Anonyme a dit: How was blasphemy in Egypt? I mean, was there a certain action or something some men did to insult gods?
As far as I’m aware, and looking on JSTOR aids me no further in this, there is such a concept in Ancient Egypt, but not much is attested before the Ptolemaic period. The Ptolemaic period is not one I’m qualified to talk about, unfortunately. I know too little about Greek culture.
The only thing I can think of in terms of what we would describe as “blasphemous” would be defacing the image or showing disrespect to a god/gods. In Ancient Egypt, this would come under the guise of removing the name or image of the god, as by committing such an act the Egyptians believed that the god would cease to exist. This was very much the same with non-deities too (see: Hatshepsut, Akhenaten etc) and is known as damnatio memoriae. However, the only time we have this occurring in relation to a deity in Ancient Egypt, is in the reign of Akhenaten as he sought to erase other deities, particularly Amun who was chief deity in this period, in favour of the Aten. He instructed the priests to hack out the names of other deities, and even moved his capital away from Thebes so as to be no longer associated with the old pantheon. After Akhenaten’s death, all deities were reinstated and a practice known as “personal piety” became popular. Personal piety was a practice whereby a person would take their worship of deities into their own hands, leaving temples to their own worship. A personal relationship with the gods was a way to express their own feelings of gratitude and happiness on the one hand, and worries and sorrows on the other. The help of the gods was invoked for everyday emergencies: sickness and death, fertility and prosperity. Bes and Taweret were particularly popular with ordinary people, but personal devotion was also directed towards Amun of Thebes ”who is on the side of the one who is wretched” and Ptah ”on his wall”. For the protection of their young children against all possible threats, mothers appealed to the goddess Isis who had successfully brought up her son Horus in a hostile environment. The god Herpakhered (Harpocrates) was called upon to healsnake bites and scorpion stings. The deified sage Imhotep, King Djoser’s architect, was also worshipped as a healer. The Egyptians protected themselves against all possible dangers with amulets. The so-called “Hearing Ear” stele and other votive offerings which can be found in various collections show that the Egyptians believed that their prayers for help and succour had really been heard. An important expression of personal piety took shape in the mortuary cult. The deceased were a part of society. The tombs were visited regularly to bring offerings to the deceased. Meals of which the dead were also considered to partake were prepared near the tombs as well.
Most of the hacking out we see on temples nowadays was done by early Christians, who were re-purposing the temples for their own needs. They believed that the images of the Ancient gods were blasphemous to their own worship, and therefore sought to erase them and replace them with Christian symbols. We can see a lot of evidence of this at Philae.
There is one other thing that relates to blasphemy, though we have no idea of the practices outside of the text it’s in. The Book of the Dead contains a spell, known as Spell 125b, which are known as the “negative confessions” whereby the deceased could announce his innocence before the forty-two who were the assessors that judged the dead in the netherworld Hall of Justice, also known as the “Hall of the Two Truths”. Hence, this spell takes the form of an address to each of these “judgment gods”, who is named along with the specific plea before each god. These names of these gods were listed, together with an identification that was either a geographical region or some other identifying characteristic. The tribunal of judicial gods is frequently depicted in the illustrations accompanying Chapter 125b of the Book of the Dead, though only occasionally are all forty-two gods represented at once. More commonly, a representative selection of the gods is made, normally in the squatting position common to “seated god” hieroglyph, or standing. Sometimes they may hold knives, and at other times the feathers of ma’at as symbols of their judicial power.
These forty-two gods apparently were believed to judge all forms of evil, though some might overlap to some extent. For example, two gods represented robbery and stealing, respectively, but apparently stealing offerings, food and bread specifically each deserved the attention of an individual member of the tribunal. However, it should probably be noted that these evils did not include all taboos specifically, which might include anything that upset ma’at. There is one taboo that is translated as “blasphemy” by some and is dealt with by “the serpent who brings and gives, of the silent land” However a better translation for it would be “damnation”
There is no attestation of this Spell or confession before the New Kingdom, so I cannot say that it was common practice. Nor can I say whether “blasphemy” was taboo in everyday life, or whether it was just a “confession” made in death to keep in line with ma’at. To do so would require further research into what extent the Egyptians themselves believed in the taboo, or whether it was just a part of religious practice to deny having committed the crime, but to ignore it in their actual lives.