Title

The Divine Eye in Ancient Egypt and in the Midrash Interpretation of Formative Judaism.

Publication Date

2003

Journal

Journal of Religion and Society 5

Volume

5

First Page

1

Last Page

17

Abstract

This paper studies the “eye” as a religious phenomenon from the multiple traditions of ancient Egypt compared with rabbinic Judaism in late antiquity using a semiotic approach based upon the theories of Umberto Eco. This method was chosen because the eye is a graphic as well as a linguistic sign which both express religious concepts. Generally, the eye represented an all-seeing and omnipresent divinity. In other words, the god was reduced to an eye, whereby the form of the symbol suggests a meaning to the viewer or religious practitioner. In this manner the eye represented the whole body of a deity in Egyptian and the power of a discerning God in rabbinic texts. By focusing upon the semantic aspect of the eye metaphor in both Egyptian and rabbinic texts two religious traditions of the visually perceivable are analyzed from a semiotic perspective.

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