ARCE ONLINE: Redeeming Demons: Coopting Demonic Forces for Good in Ancient Egypt


Free event streaming live on YouTube | 1:30 - 3:30 PM

Study Day: A collaboration between ARCE-OC, the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA) and Bowers Museum

Redeeming Demons: Coopting Demonic Forces for Good in Ancient Egypt

Rita Lucarelli, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Egyptology

Near Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley

Joshua A. Roberson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Art History

Department of Art at the University of Memphis.

Bryan Kraemer

Researcher (RAFFMA) and Instructor (Department of History)

California State University, San Bernardino

Kasia Szpakowska, Ph.D.

W. Benson Harer Egyptology Scholar in Residence, California State University, San Bernardino (spring 2021)

Program description: 

The word “demon” is used throughout Egyptology for a number of divine or semi-divine creatures encountered in art and texts. Although there is no term for “demon” in Egyptian, scholars have applied this term freely for creatures with an especially menacing demeanor found in the texts that describe the underworld.  But it also appears in reference to other areas of Egyptian magic, medicine, and mortuary art. Demons appear to have malevolent and benevolent tendencies in Ancient Egyptian religion. Our seminar will look at the benevolent demons. It will especially focus on how the Ancient Egyptians used magic or myth to coerce ostensibly naturally malevolent forces. The study of demons in Ancient Egyptian religion is undergoing a renaissance. This conference will bring together experts in the topic of Demons in Ancient Egypt to offer their perspectives on how the Ancient Egyptians conceived of magical, ritual, and mythical strategies to bend evil to do the will of good.

Image credit: Detail from pedestal of inner coffin of Meretites, Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City MO, Inv. No.2007.12.2.A-B, Photograph by Kea Johnston

Event details

April 10, 2021 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm