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Geraldine Pinch. Handbook of Egyptian Mythology
ABC-CLIO, Inc. 2002

Students at the high-school level and above who are doing research on Egyptian mythology will find this volume interesting and helpful. The first chapter discusses the nature of myths and the history of Egypt from the predynastic to the postpharaonic period. The second goes through several myth complexes and cycles and their variations. The third chapter, "Deities, Themes, and Concepts, " is an alphabetical listing of well over 100 topics and is the meat of the book. Articles range in length from a single line to several pages. All have see also references, and most cite both secondary and primary sources. Entries are readable and note where particular deities absorbed characteristics of others during historical periods. The inconsistencies of Egyptian mythology are noted, as in the variations of the Osiris stories. The frankly sexual nature of many of Egypt's creation myths is not glossed over, nor are the coupling habits of the gods.
A final chapter is an annotated list of print and nonprint resources on Egyptian myth, some of which may be found in many larger public and academic libraries. A few novels influenced by Egyptian myth are also listed and annotated, including Norman Mailer's Ancient Evenings and Elizabeth Peters' The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog. A few videos are reviewed, and several Web sites and CD-ROMs are listed. Pinch's annotations are clear and informative and not without a certain dry humor.

A very helpful glossary defines Egyptian words and other terms that are commonly used in Egyptology. The appendix listing primary sources would be of most use to college students beginning to study Egyptian mythology or Egyptology. This volume is recommended for medium-sized and large public libraries and academic libraries with lower-division mythology and Egyptology classes. It joins others of the publisher's Handbooks of World Mythology, including Handbook of Mesoamerican Mythology (2002) and Handbook of Norse Mythology (2001). RBB
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