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Lipson, Carol

Special Issue 2013, 43:3, pages 270-284

Comparative Rhetoric, Egyptology, and the Case of Akhenaten


The field of Egyptology has been intrigued by an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh named Akhenaten, from the fourteenth century BCE, who attempted large-scale ideological, religious, political, and rhetorical changes-only to be erased from history until the nineteenth century. His project was known only indirectly through tomb texts, texts on boundary stelae, as well as through visuals, architecture, and other material objects. The examination here conducts a preliminary archaeological rhetorical study, as proposed by Richard Enos, of the scholarly treatments of Akhenaten’s projects, focusing on major Egyptologists from Victorian and Edwardian England, the Gilded and Progressive eras in America, the Weimar Republic and National Socialist eras in Germany, and the Third Republic in France. Through examination of the cultural contexts and the scholarly texts, the study finds the scholarship of these major Egyptologists to be heavily influenced by their particular cultural settings, agendas, and frameworks.

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