The Daily Offering Meal in the Ritual of Amenhotep I: An Instance of the Local Adaptation of Cult Liturgy

In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions

Abstract

This article reexamines a limestone ostrakon of the Ramesside period, incompletely published by its previous editors, that was originally part of the Michaelides collection and is now owned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The ostrakon contains a small portion of a long text known as the "Ritual of Amenhotep I." The ostrakon lists a "menu" of items to be presented to Amen-Re and the deified Amenhotep I as part of the offering meal (dbh htp.w) during the daily offering ritual. This ritual meal awakens the god from a wounded state, empowering his body and thus his divine agency. Through repeated and patterned actions of offering accompanied by chanted speech imbued with symbolic meaning, the participants are given experience of hidden cosmological processes that lie beyond the boundaries of normal knowledge. The ritual meal can be described as a liminal rite of awakening and healing for the god and, by extension, for the entire community of which this god is a patron. We present this ritual performance as a case study examining how mythological narrative and state rituals can be adapted for local cult use.

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