Guiding and Protective Entities. From the Egyptian Gods Anubis and Wepwawet to Some Possible Semitic and Christian Counterparts.

  1. Lemma
  2. Entităţi divine călăuzitoare şi protectoare. De la zeii egipteni Anubis şi Upuaut la câţiva posibili corespondenţi semitici şi creştini
  3. Romanian
  4. Stavinschi, Alexandra
  5. Modes of interaction > Integration - Natural and the supernatural - Orthodox Anthropology
  6. 19-1-2017
  7. Tatomir, Renata [Author]. Guiding and Protective Entities. From the Egyptian Gods Anubis and Wepwawet to Some Possible Semitic and Christian Counterparts
  8. Transdisciplinarity in Science and Religion
  9. Semitic culture - iconography - mythology
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    1. The aim of the present study is first of all to analyse the complexity and importance of the role of the jackal shaped god in the ancient Egyptian religious system of beliefs, and link it with the Christian tradition.

      The mythological and religious attributes of the god with canine shape (the jackal, in particular) transcended the Egyptian borders, spreading to the Semitic cultures. The author claims that we cannot speak of an important, leading and guiding divine entity as Anubis was in Egypt; we may refer rather to distinct and protective entities, terrifying and spiritual healing 'powers', which act at the orders of a hierarchically superior God, as in the case of Semitic cultures.

      While Anubis was considered a god, due to his other hyposthases, however, such as Wepwawet/Upuaut, he could also belong to the category of spiritual powers (with jackal/canine shapes). If the Egyptian god Anubis is, due to this very Egyptian influence, a particularly challenging example of the interrelated functions of guardian of the soul, psychopomp and lord of magic, other Semitic societies were well aware of this archetype. His features related him to the dogs from the Semitic religions, and to other representations of these powers, such as the Greco-Egyptian Hermanubis, or even the cynocephalic Christian saints.

      According to the historian Lucian Boia, quoted by the author, the presence of cynocephali (people have the head of a dog) is evident in the Christian mythology of the early Church. What is more, according to tradition, Saint Christopher, martyr of the third century, very popular in the Middle Ages, was cynocephalic; on the other hand, Attila, the king of the Huns, was also depicted with a dog's head. Boia explains this by the fact that, perhaps paradoxically, "theology tolerated monstrous human forms while imposing, on the other hand, a certain variety of different people, very distinct from all the others: the saints, people who became different as a result of a long process of iniatiation - by imitating Christ - at the end of which they were approaching the divine light". The historian concludes that this was "the most original contribution of the Middle Ages to the typology of a different Man".

      Cynocephalia had an interesting impact especially on the saints iconography of the Christian Middle Ages, since the very first centuries. This condition, very common in the much older Egyptian mythology, regards a few characters in the tradition of the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church alike. According to the author, the Christian evidence is clearly a late echo of the mythical Egyptian influence of the jackal-god Anubis.