The first section of this article discusses traditional religion, looking at the Ancient Egyptian worldview, mummification and afterlife, and the role of the temples in economy and administration. The second section considers new developments in Egyptian religion such as listening gods, animal cults, Egyptian “saints”, oracles, dreams, and katochê. The third section describes the growing state intervention, examining the administration of temples, priestly privileges, temple asylum, and dynastic and imperial cults. The fourth section looks at the impact of the Greek, describing interpreatio graeca, the Hellenization of the gods, and astrology. The last section describes the end of Egyptian religion, looking at polytheism, religion without temples, and Egyptian religion within Christianity.
The church fathers were appalled in particular by the Gnostics' condemnation of creation. But the fact that much of their teaching was in many respects not so far from Christian dogma must have disturbed the advocates of the “real” Christian church. In some of these Gnostic systems, Christ was the main savior figure; in others, it was the forefathers of the Old Testament who guaranteed salvation; in Manichaeism, it was the new Messenger of Light, the apostle Mani, who, coming after Christ, would finally give the right revelation to the people and excel Christ in doing so. This article deals with religious groups such as these as they existed in Egypt in the Roman and late antique periods. Papyrology has played a decisive role in our understanding of the religious movements of the first centuries