Functions and uses of myth


This article discusses functions and uses of myth in ancient Egypt as a contribution to comparative research. Applications of myth are reviewed in order to present a basic general typology of usages: from political, scholarly, ritual, and medical applications, through incorporation in images, to linguistic and literary exploitations. In its range of function and use, Egyptian myth is similar to that of other civilizations, except that written narratives appear to have developed relatively late. The many attested forms and uses underscore its flexibility, which has‪ ‪entailed‪ many interpretations starting with assessments of the Osiris myth reported by Plutarch (2‪ ‪nd‪ ‪ century AD). Myths conceptualize, describe, explain, and control the world, and they‪ were‪ ‪‪adapted to an ever-changing reality.‪



Publication Type

Journal Name

Revue de l'histoire des religions

Volume Number


Issue Number

pp. 645-681