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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Democratization of the Afterlife


Egyptian religion is characterized by a remarkable degree of continuity, but changes did nevertheless occur in the religious sphere from time to time. One often-cited instance of such a change is the so-called democratization or demotization of the afterlife in the First Intermediate Period. This study examines the evidence for the development in question, concluding that no such change actually took place, albeit not for the reasons advanced by others who have arrived at the same conclusion previously. Based on the results obtained in the examination of this particular problem, a number of general points are then made about the methodology to be employed in the study of religious change in ancient Egypt as a whole.

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