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anthropaper1 - Mary Minno Magic, Science and Religion...

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Magic, Science and Religion Prompt 3, Paper 1 January 26, 2010 The categorization of an ancient ritual is a difficult task. In modern society, the social structure and the familiarity of the social system makes it easier to analyze the underlying meaning of a ritual. However, in ancient Egypt, the pharaoh symbolizes and holds a position different from anything familiar to modern humanity. The pharaoh is a sacred god, an eternal ruler. He or she holds a divine title. During the Heb Sed Ritual , which occurres during the lifetime of each pharaoh from King Djoser forward, the pharaoh proves his or her ability to still rule the country. The Heb Sed Ritual is first and foremost a religious ritual but holds characteristics of many other rituals . It is not easily placed into any secondary ritual category. In fact, the Heb Sed Ritual holds aspects of many different rituals, including the rite of passage ritual, an occasional ritual and the ideological ritual. The first category into which the Heb Sed Ritual falls is a religious ritual. The pharaoh in ancient Egypt is a religious figure; he or she is seen as a god on Earth. Therefore, by the very nature of a god participating in the ritual, to the ancient Egyptians, the Heb Sed Ritual has religious connotations. It strays from this theory in that most modern religious rituals do not involve the god physically participating, because many modern religions do not see god as human. The depiction and treatment of a pharaoh during ancient times ensures us that the Egyptians did see the pharaoh as a god. Also, during the ritual, the pharaoh speaks to the gods. It is logical, therefore, that the competition is a deeply spiritual ritual. The
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This note was uploaded on 02/04/2012 for the course ANTHRO 124P taught by Professor Fessler during the Spring '07 term at UCLA.

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anthropaper1 - Mary Minno Magic, Science and Religion...

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