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Akhenaten: The Heretic King

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  48 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Here is a striking portrait of Akhenaten, monotheistic worshiper of the sun and best-known Egyptian king next to Tutankhamen. Various writers have depicted this strange ruler of the fourteenth century B.C. as a disguised woman or a eunuch, a mentor of Moses, or a forerunner of Christ. Drawing on a vast amount of new evidence from his own excavations, the Director of the Ak ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 21st 1987 by Princeton University Press (first published 1984)
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Erik Graff
May 30, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ancient Egypt fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
Ever since reading Freud's Moses and Monotheism I've been interested in what we know about Akhenaten, who, with his wife Nefertiti, has carried a lot of retrospective cultural baggage, some of which I've read in more popular books.

This scholarly study, based as it is on recent archaeological research, much of it conducted by the author, dispells much of the mythology by clearly distinguishing between what we know, what we may plausibly hypothesize and what is entirely unsupported by evidence.

Dr. Donald B. Redford is my bible for writing about the 18th dynasty of Ancient Egypt. Without his expansive research and archeological field work in Amarna (where Akhenaten built his city), there would be very little light shed upon Akhenaten's beliefs and his reign. Dr. Redford's writing is objective and is clearly written. Dr. Redford includes the research and the opinions of his colleagues in Egyptology, as well.

Dr. Redford will shed light on ancient history. You will never think of history
Perhaps not the newest book on the subject (for example much more modern research has been done on Tutanchamun and his parentage), but a very well written and well researched one, that is quite informative and interesting to read. It is a bit of a slow starter, beginning with the reign of Akhenaten's father, but perhaps that is needed to properly put in perspective the change that came with the new king's reign.

A personal favourite with me in this book was the section on the archaeological work
Whether you'll find this book a good read depends largely on your opinion of Akhenaten. If your Akhenaten tends towards the idealist (i.e. the cruelly misunderstood king with a beautiful, sensitive soul), then your reaction will likely to be one of burning rage. If your Akhenaten is more the religious fanatic, you might well enjoy this book greatly, and agree with the author on a number points. If you don't have a particular opinion on Akhenaten, then this book will probably be interesting, in t ...more
Nov 18, 2013 Brigi added it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Sadly, I only skimmed through the second part of the book, because I'm really pressed by time in my research, and the book didn't focus enough on the aspects I need for my project. Anyway, it seems an interesting and engaging book, as far as I read it.
A fascinating look at the Amarna period, with particular focus on the early years of Akhenaten's reign.
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is a Canadian Egyptologist and archaeologist, currently Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies at Pennsylvania State University. He is married to Susan Redford, who is also an Egyptologist currently teaching classes at the university. Professor Redford has directed a number of important excavations in Egypt, notably at Karnak and Mendes.
More about Donald B. Redford...
Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times The Ancient Gods Speak: A Guide to Egyptian Religion The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt A History of Ancient Egypt: Egyptian Civilization in Context From Slave to Pharaoh: The Black Experience of Ancient Egypt

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