Egyptian Light and Hebrew Fire

Theological and Philosophical Roots of Christendom in Evolutionary Perspective

By Karl W. Luckert

Series: SUNY series in Religious Studies
Paperback : 9780791409688, 356 pages, November 1991
Hardcover : 9780791409671, 356 pages, November 1991

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Table of contents


1. Prolegomena for Methodological Reorientation in the History and Evolution of Religions

Preface to Egyptian Light

2. Heliopolitan Theology: A Reconstruction
3. Heliopolitan Theology in the Pyramid Texts
4. Heliopolitan Theology in the Coffin Texts
5. Other Ancient Egyptian Theologies

Preface to Hebrew Fire

6. The Monotheism of Moses
7. God and His Created World
8. Against Grand Domestication
9. Israel's Return to Grand Domestication
10. Universalistic Monotheism and Messianism

Preface to the World of Greece

11. From Mythology to Philosophy
12. Philosophy: From Thales to Anaxagoras
13. Philosophy: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle
14. The Neo-Egyptian Philosophy of Plotinus
15. Neoplatonism: Ammonius and Plotinus


16. The Kingdom of Heaven at Hand
17. Gnosis Competition
18. The Kingdom of Heaven Spreading
19. Bequest of the Mother Religion




Egyptian Light and Hebrew Fire focuses on the cosmology of ancient Egypt and on derived traditions. The book outlines how the ancient Egyptian world view affected Hebrew religion, Greek philosophy, Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, and early Christianity. It traces ideological roots of Western civilization back to its earliest known prototypes in the Pyramid and Coffin texts of ancient Egypt. It challenges us to refocus some of our history of early Greek philosophy, and it positively identifies Neoplatonism as a philosophized and scarcely disguised neo-Egyptian theology.

Karl W. Luckert is Professor of History of Religions at Southwest Missouri State University.


"It presents an original thesis and supports it with a remarkable array of erudition. Its main thesis is that Christianity owes a great deal to ancient Egyptian religion, a debt which has been almost universally overlooked. Its scholarship is impressive, and it is interesting to read. In fact, it is difficult to put down if one has a serious interest in Christian origins or the relation of religion to philosophy. " — Hugo A. Meynell, University of Calgary

"My overall impression is that Egyptian Light and Hebrew Fire will make a strong impact upon our previous interpretations and understanding regarding the 'uniqueness' of Judeo-Christian society. Although there have been studies on related topics in the past, this work presents a good, overall perspective and still maintains attention to detail. I think it would also be a wonderful textbook for an upper division class in Comparative Religion. " — Garth Alford, University of Washington

"Luckert is constructive, teasy, honest, enlightening. " — Burton L. Mack, Claremont Graduate School