Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Atum was one of the earliest names for the divine in its capacity as creator-god in ancient Egypt. Equally important, the conceptualization of Atom represents the earliest example of humans developing an ontology or metaphysical philosophy to explain the nature of being and existence. The earliest reference to Atum in ancient Egyptian literature is in the Pyramid Texts and is dated to circa 2350 BC. An analysis of the Pyramid Texts demonstrates that the deity Atum served at least three primary functions in ancient Egyptian religious and philosophical thought: the progenitor of the Heliopolitan cosmogony, the author of divine kingship, and, as already indicated, the primary ontological category by which all matter, phenomena, and life materialized from a nonexistent primordial state. The ...