What kinds of similar or differing meanings can we
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What kinds of similar or differing meanings can we find between Akhenaten
What kinds of similar or differing meanings can we find between Akhenaten’s
“Hymn to the Sun” and Hebrew literature (e.g. Psalms)?
Akhenaten’s “Hymn to the Sun” relates to the creation of man and the
earth, the blessings he bestows on them, and his mercy on the people. These
three elements are a few of the characteristics that represent the essence of a
relationship between God and man. The purpose of God is to bring more meaning to
life. This meaning provides people with a self-fulfilling method of measuring
how good or bad they have behaved. This is the reason for an afterlife. To think
that the trials and tribulations one suffers through during his or her life have
no rewards leaves one with a filling of emptiness. This is where heaven and hell
finds its place in religion. It is the reward or punishment that ultimately
determines the way one lives his life.
God provides dominance over the human soul, which commands a respect. This
reverence is what Akhenaten has for Aten and what the Hebrews had for their God.
God must be all-powerful, and all knowing. This is what declares God’s
dominance. People must have a dominant leader and this is why God represents the
perfect being. That is why Akhenaten says that Aten molded man to “ensure that
his handwork will prosper.” In the Hebrew literature God has molded man in the
image of himself. This presents the similarities of man and God and gives people
the comfort of being Gods children. Akhenaten even goes as far as to name
himself son to the sun God as an appreciation of God’s power.
There are many similarities and differences between Akhenaten’s “Hymn to
the Sun” and the Hebrew literature, Psalms in particular. Throughout the
writings of Psalms there is constant reference to enemies and sinners. “When
evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes
attack me they will stumble and fall.”(Psalms 27:2). An enemy can be any
opposing force. Because these forces come in any shape or form, a mortal being
will very seldom be prepared. That is why one calls on God for protection and
direction. This direction reveals Gods knowledge of the world and everything it
embraces. “All their goods could be stolen away, heads heavy there, and they
never knowing”! This line is taken from the “Hymn to the Sun”. It
describes how when night falls the sinners reveal themselves. Sinners are
understood to be in the wrong until they repent their sins. When one recognizes
and repents his sins it grants forgiveness from God. This forgiveness may allow
sinners the reward of heaven. Reaching heaven recognizes that one has completed
the cycle of life to the best of his ability or by the standards of God, which
implies that one has lived in his image.
Akhenaten’s “Hymn to the Sun” does not relate to an evil being opposite
of Aten. Akhenaten cited in section II that when the sun went down many ungodly
things happened. He compared darkness to death. In this writing darkness
represents the evil side of the world, or the sin. Darkness has a tradition of
being related to evil or wrong doings. It is often viewed as the unknown or the
forsaken territory because of its threat of uncertainty and insecurity.
By not attributing sin to the doings of a being and referring to it as
something that must come everyday, one could infer that Aten does not have total
control over the earth. God must be the one thing that controls all. If he is
not then that lack of control will develop a fear in his followers. This fear or
uncertainty allows one to question his judgments and rules and offers the
possibility of a more powerful being. This in particular may not be to Akhenaten’s
advantage when implementing a different religion. In the Hebrew literature God
allows evil to have its place in the world. This tolerance acknowledges that God
is so powerful that even the treat of evil kneels at the mercy of God. The more
one hands over to God the more loyal and reverential one will be.
In this “Hymn to the Sun”, Akhenaten said that when it is dark “he who
created all things lies low in his tomb”. This is unlike the all seeing, all
knowing God in Hebrew literature. This quote may be an implied statement.
Because all evil comes out at night, Akhenaten may think that Aten has ceased
watching over the land.
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Atenism, Amarna Period, Akhenaten, Egyptian gods, Tutankhamun, Great Hymn to the Aten, Aten, Monotheism, Amarna, Ra, Solar deity, Ay
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