By Joseph M. Perkins
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – A lecture on ancient Egyptian afterlife was given at 7 p.m. April 4 in Civic Hall on the Blackwood campus of Camden County College.
Camden County College is featuring a five-part lecture series titled “Hidden Histories of Ancient Egypt” this spring. It has already hosted lectures in the series on March 7, March 28 and April 4.
The lecture on April 4 was titled “A Season in Hell (with apologies to Arther Rimbaud): Exploration in the Egyptian Underworld” and was given by Dr. Joshua Roberson, assistant professor of history, philosophy and political science, Camden County College, and consulting scholar, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Egyptian Section.
Through ancient art and texts, Roberson delivered a lecture in which he revealed the complexities of Egyptian speculations on the divine world, including “striking parallels with much later traditions of Christianity and Islam which should therefore provide something of a touchstone for our modern western audience,” said Roberson.
Before Roberson began his lecture, Jack Pesda, director of the Center for Civic Leadership and Responsibility, opened with a thank you. “I want to thank the New Jersey Council for the Humanities for making this lecture series to happen,” said Pesda.
Within the historically accurate display of Egyptian knowledge that Roberson possessed, he metaphorically played Virgil to the audience’s Dante. Roberson said, “The Egyptian afterlife is a mysterious and often terrifying alien landscape populated by beings, governed by rules that are anything but familiar.” However, Roberson invited the audience to follow him along his journey into revisiting the ancient culture’s beliefs of the afterlife.
Roberson explained how far the rabbit hole goes, touching upon the subjects of the Egyptians’ ancient art and texts telling of the death and rebirth of the sun god Ra and his travels along the 12 stages of the underworld.
The lecture attracted almost a full house of approximately 200 audience members. After the lecture, the audience, still intrigued by Roberson’s lecture, stayed for about 15 minutes for a question and answer session.