Rita Lucarelli

Assistant Professor Fellow
2016-2017
Lucarelli Image

While Christianity understands beings commonly labelled as “demons” as evil spirits in league with “the Devil” and sharply separated from “God” and his following of good “angels,” in ancient Egypt, as in other pre-Christian cultures, the world of beings that can be categorized as “demons” was multifaceted and heterogeneous, and it is difficult to distinguish their roles in ritual, life, and death from those of the gods. In her monograph on demonology, Rita Lucarelli (Near Eastern Studies) addresses this central, though neglected, aspect of ancient Egyptian religion. Beginning with the understanding that demons are represented in unusual and ontologically ambiguous ways in ancient Egypt, Lucarelli closely analyzes the textual and iconographical data available to offer a more accurate picture of the identities of ancient Egypt’s demons, as well as to define exactly where and how demons stand within the wider sphere of ancient Egyptian beliefs and practices regarding the supernatural.