Aten-ra

Aten-Ra was the name of the deity of the solar disk, who was originally one of the minor deities of the Egyptian mythology. He was represented as a solar disk giving forth rays, each of which terminated in a hand holding the cross of life. In the time of Amenhotep IV, the wife of that monarch, queen Taia, attempted to make absolute and universal the worship of AtenRa, whom she maintained to be the same as the Syrian deity Adon-Ra, or Adon-ai. The king, at first, slowly introduced the. new form of deity under the name of Aten-nefru, and then gradually declared the sun under that name to be the supreme deity alike of Egypt and its dependencies; and, to carry out this plan, he closed the temples of the older divinities, degraded their priests, and ultimately removed the capitol of the empire to a new site at Tel el-Amarna. This total subversion of the natural religious principles, and the unwise haste with which it was accompanied, led to a revolution, which resulted in the overthrow of the 18th dynasty and the degradation of Aten- Ra. There is, in many points, a considerable resemblance between some of the rites of Aten and the ceremonial observances of the Jewish nation. In both systems there was no visible-representation of the Supreme Deity, There were altars of incense, burnt-sacrifice, and, more remarkable still, a table of shewbread in both. The plans of the temples were very similar to each other, as also were the robes of the officiating priests. Whether there ever was such a strong affinity between them as to imply one common origin cannot now be well ascertained; certain it is that the troubles of the Jews in Egypt appear to have synchronized pretty closely with the religious disturbances which followed the death of queen Taia.-Lenormant, Chaldaean Magic, s.v.

 
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