The discipline of Egyptology has been criticised for being too insular,with little awareness of the development of archaeologies elsewhere. It has remained theoretically underdeveloped. For example the role of Ancient Egypt within Africa has rarely been considered jointly by Egyptologists and Africanists. Egypt's own view of itself has been neglected; views of it in the ancient past, in more recent times and today have remained underexposed. Encounters with Ancient Egypt is a series of eight books which addresses these issues. The books interrelate, inform and illuminate one another and will appeal to a wide market including academics, students and the general public interested in Archaeology, Egyptology, Anthropology, Architecture, Design and History. From the earliest times, Egypt and its past has been known to other peoples in Europe and the Near East; it was well known in the Greek and Roman worlds, which frequently expressed a sense of amazement at the culture and wisdom of pharaonic Egypt. Their approach could vary from emphasizing the strangeness or perversity of Egypt to seeing Egypt as the natural precursor to all later human developments and achievements.
Ancient Egypt also played a major role in the Judaeo-Christian biblical tradition. Though to some a place of oppression, it was again mostly seen as a source of civilization. But before the growth of travel to Egypt and the rise of Egyptology in the 18th and 19th centuries, detailed knowledge of Egypt was very limited. The Wisdom of Egypt examines the sources of evidence about Ancient Egypt available to scholars, and the changing visions of Egypt and of Egypt's role in human history that they produced. Its scope extends from the Classical world, through Europe and the Arabic worlds in the Middle Ages, to writers of the Renaissance, to the work of scholars and scientists of Early Modern Europe.
Table of Contents
Egypt as Wisdom: the classical view; Ancient Egypt in Medieval Arabic Writings; The Image of Egypt in the Middle Ages (until ca. 1400); The Renaissance Afterlife of Ancient Egypt; Ancient Egypt in 18th century English Science,Religion and 'Archaeology': an overview; Beyond Egyptology: Egypt in 19th and 20th century archaeology and anthropology.
Peter Ucko is Director of the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. Timothy Champion is a Professor in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Southampton.