Sunday, November 4, 2012

Truth about Egyptian Book of the Dead

Egyptian Book of the Dead
Source from: King-Tut.Org.Uk
The Egyptian Book of the Dead - sounds mysterious, magical and frightening - and in some respects it was ! But what exactly was the Egyptian Book of the Dead? What was the purpose of the Book of the Dead?

Egyptian Magic Spells
Definition of the Egyptian Book of the Dead
The Egyptian Book of the Dead was an ancient survival guidebook which contained magical spells and instructions to ensure safe passage through the dangers of the Underworld. Funeral prayers were chanted to Egyptian Gods and protective spells were cast. A papyrus scroll containing sections and spells from the Book of the Dead was buried with the Ancient Egyptians to help them leave their tombs and through their perilous journey and the obstacles they would face in the underworld. The Book of the Dead was recorded by a royal Scribe called Ani. The Papyrus of Ani, was originally 78 feet long and was divided into various chapters.

Origins of the Egyptian Book of the Dead
The Ancient Pyramid Texts contained rituals for the deceased. These texts were cut in hieroglyphs on the walls inside the pyramids of the kings of the 5th and 6th Dynasties of the Old Kingdom. The 'Pyramid Texts' were then painted on coffins (referred to as the Coffin Texts). These ancient Pyramid texts and Coffin texts were gradually developed into the elaborate Book of the Dead. During the 18th Dynasty the process of mummification was well established and papyrus texts were placed in the mummy case.

Contents of the Egyptian Book of the Dead
The Egyptian Book of the Dead was a sacred document studied by Egyptian elite such as well-educated Egyptians, Royalty and Priests. It provided an understanding of their religion and gave them a great advantage in the understanding of Underworld and the Afterlife and the trials that they would face. The Egyptian Book of the Dead contained nearly 200 different spells. Each spell was designed to help with the tests and trials that would be met in the Underworld. The correct spells would need to be recited to pass each test. Prior study of the spells contained in the Book of the Dead with reference to the papyrus that contained the spells guaranteed safe passage through the trials which led to the Hall of Two Truths where their actions in their mortal lives would be examined.

Papyrus containing excerpts from the Egyptian Book of the Dead
The papyrus contained a selection of appropriate spells from the Egyptian Book of the Dead which was an essential element to be entombed with an Ancient Egyptian. The text contained in the papyrus was often individualized for the deceased person. The papyrus roll was enclosed in the tomb with the mummy and excerpts from the Book of the Dead, with beautiful colored illustrations, were also painted on the coffins.

Purpose of the Egyptian Book of the Dead - Ancient Egyptian Beliefs
The religion of the Ancient Egyptians encompassed the following fundamental beliefs which clarifies the purpose of the Book of the Dead:
  • Life and Death were seen as stages of progress to a better life in the next world
  • Mummification - The Egyptians believed that preserving the body in death was important to keep their soul alive - without a physical body the soul had no place to dwell and became restless forever
  • The Underworld - Definition: The Underworld, called Duat, was a land of great dangers through which every Egyptian would need to pass through after death according to the beliefs of the Ancient Egyptian religion
  • Hall of the Two Truths - The God of the Dead Anubis would lead the dead through the dangers of the Underworld to the Hall of Two Truths and the ceremony of justification before Osiris and 42 judge deities. A set of scales where his or her heart was weighed against the feather of truth and their fate would be decided - either entrance into the perfect afterlife or to be sent to the Devourer of the Dead
  • The Afterlife - A perfect existence in an ideal version of Egypt. Ancient Egyptians provided for their afterlives according to their earthly means. The Afterlife was referred to as the Field of Rushes or Field of Offerings

Anubis the God of the Dead and Embalming
The Egyptian Book of the Dead was therefore a set of instructions, prayers and helpful spells to assist in the journey through the Underworld to the Afterlife. The dangers of the underworld included a variety of obstacles including fearful beasts, various traps, demons and a long series of tests. Anubis, the God of the Dead and Embalming, played an important role in relation to the burial rituals of the Ancient Egyptians and he was also believed to help guide souls through the perils of the Underworld.

Egyptian Book of the Dead
Each section addresses all topics and provides interesting facts and information about the Golden Age of Pharaohs and the famous Gods and Goddesses of Egypt. The Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts provided about the fascinating subject of Egyptian Gods and the Pharaoh Tutankhamun!

The Book of the Dead
Source from: Crystalinks
Book of the Dead is the common name for ancient Egyptian funerary texts known as The Book of Coming or Going Forth By Day. The name "Book of the Dead" was the invention of the German Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius, who published a selection of some texts in 1842.

The Books were text initially carved on the exterior of the deceased person's sarcophagus, but was later written on papyrus now known as scrolls and buried inside the sarcophagus with the deceased, presumably so that it would be both portable and close at hand. Other texts often accompanied the primary texts including the hypocephalus (meaning 'under the head') which was a primer version of the full text.

Books of the Dead constituted as a collection of spells, charms, passwords, numbers and magical formulas for the use of the deceased in the afterlife. This described many of the basic tenets of Egyptian mythology.

They were intended to guide the dead through the various trials that they would encounter before reaching the underworld. Knowledge of the appropriate spells was considered essential to achieving happiness after death. Spells or enchantments vary in distinctive ways between the texts of differing "mummies" or sarcophagi, depending on the prominence and other class factors of the deceased.

Books of the Dead were usually illustrated with pictures showing the tests to which the deceased would be subjected. The most important was the weighing of the heart of the dead person against Ma'at, or Truth (carried out by Anubis). The heart of the dead was weighed against a feather, and if the heart was not weighed down with sin (if it was lighter than the feather) he was allowed to go on. The god Thoth would record the results and the monster Ammit would wait nearby to eat the heart should it prove unworthy.

The earliest known versions date from the 16th century BC during the 18th Dynasty (ca. 1580 BC­1350 BC). It partly incorporated two previous collections of Egyptian religious literature, known as the Coffin Texts (ca. 2000 BC) and the Pyramid Texts (ca. 2600 BC-2300 BC), both of which were eventually superseded by the Book of the Dead.

The text was often individualized for the deceased person - so no two copies contain the same text - however, "book" versions are generally categorized into four main divisions - the Heliopolitan version, which was edited by the priests of the college of Annu (used from the 5th to the 11th dynasty and on walls of tombs until about 200); the Theban version, which contained hieroglyphics only (20th to the 28th dynasty); a hieroglyphic and hieratic character version, closely related to the Theban version, which had no fixed order of chapters (used mainly in the 20th dynasty); and the Saite version which has strict order (used after the 26th dynasty).

It is notable, that the Book of the Dead for Scribe Ani, the Papyrus of Ani, was originally 78 Ft, and was separated into 37 sheets at appropriate chapter and topical divisions. 

This is a beautiful color version of the Papyrus of Ani, one of the books of the dead which were often buried with the dead person who could afford to have one written, to ease his/her way into eternal life. Above is a picture from the book. Ani (man with his wife bowing to the gods), while Anubis weighs his heart against Maat's feather of truth, and Thoth records the event, and Ammit the devourer waits patiently. There are several books by E. W. Budge about this papyrus. But Faulkner's version is better and more beautiful. And, considering the page after page of beautiful color pictures, this paperback version is amazingly inexpensive. You may find yourself just sitting and marveling at it for hours and hours, maybe years and years.

Archaeologists found this papyrus in the burial of Nany (NAH-nee), a woman in her seventies. She was a chantress (ritual singer) of the god Amun-Re and is referred to as "king's daughter" (probably meaning she was daughter of the high priest of Amun and titular king, Pinodjem I). As was customary during the Third Intermediate Period, her coffin and boxes of shawabtis (figures of substitute workers for the afterlife) were accompanied by a hollow wooden Osiris figure, which contained a papyrus scroll inscribed with a collection of texts that Egyptologists call the Book of the Dead. The ancient name was the Book of Coming Forth by Day. It is more than seventeen feet long when unrolled. The hieroglyphic inscriptions were written by a scribe, and the illustrations were drawn and painted by an artist.

The scene depicted here shows the climax of the journey to the afterlife. Nany is in the Hall of Judgment. Holding her mouth and eyes in her hand, she stands to the left of a large scale. Her heart is being weighed against Maat, the goddess of justice and truth, who is represented as a tiny figure wearing her symbol, a single large feather, in her headband. On the right, Osiris, god of the underworld and rebirth, presides over the scene. He is identified by his tall crown with a knob at the top, by his long curving beard, his crook, and by his body, which appears to be wrapped like a mummy except for his hands.

At his back hangs a menat as counterweight for his collar. In front of him is an offering of a joint of beef. Jackal-headed Anubis, overseer of mummification, adjusts the scales, while a baboon--symbolizing Thoth, the god of wisdom and writing - sits on the balance beam and prepares to write down the result. Behind Nany stands the goddess Isis, both wife and sister of Osiris. She is identified by the hieroglyph above her head. Nany has been questioned by the tribunal of forty-two gods about her behavior in life. She has had to answer negatively to every question asked in this examination, often called the negative confession.

In this scene Nany has been found truthful and therefore worthy of entering the afterlife. Her heart is not heavier than the image of the goddess of Truth. Anubis says to Osiris, "Her heart is an accurate witness," and Osiris replies, "Give her her eyes and her mouth, since her heart is an accurate witness."In the horizontal register above the judgment scene, Nany appears in three episodes: worshiping the divine palette with which all is written, praising a statue of Horus, and standing by her own tomb. Nany had a second papyrus roll with texts entitled What Is in the Underworld (Amduat) wrapped into her mummy in the area across her knees.

The Book of the Dead, the ceremonies, rituals and magic were all done in the hopes that one could reach the Land of the West and a happy afterlife, filled with good things. To live forever with the gods. To, once more, come forth by day as a living man would awaken with the sun.

Pdf file (only contains the introduction)
Papyrus of Ani Egyptian Book of the Dead

The Papyrus of Ani by E. A. Wallis Budge [1895]
Source from: Sacred Text
Because of the substantial amount of hieroglypics interspersed in the original text, I have omitted the ### 'glyph' placeholder where context permits, for readability. Only actual illustations have been inserted into the file. Due to space considerations the interlinear translation, which is primarily of interest to students of Ancient Egyptian, will not be posted. This should not be a hardship, since the Dover reprint edition is still in print and widely available.

The file above, which appears at on the Internet at Sacred-Texts for the first time is a faithful e-text of the 1895 edition of the E.A. Wallace Budge translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

In November of 2000 I inventoried my library and found that I was missing Budge's Book of the Dead. So when a copy of the Dover reprint came up at the local used bookstore, I purchased it. To my dismay, the version of the text widely posted on the Internet did not seem to match the Dover reprint of the 1895 version.

According to John Mark Ockerbloom, the proprietor of the excellent Online Books Page, the version circulating on the Internet is a highly edited version of Budge from a much later date (1913).

He writes:
"I did a little legwork, and it appears that the "mystery text" is in fact from the Medici Society edition of 1913. According to a 1960 reprint by University Books, for this edition "The translation was rewritten... [and the] greater part of the Introduction was also rewritten by Sir Wallis, who concluded a preface to it with the pleased words, 'and the entire work thus becomes truly a "New Edition"'". It's unclear whether Budge himself did the rewrite of the translation, but it's clear that he at least claims responsibility for it,. and it does appear to draw fairly heavily on his earlier translation." 
Thanks to Mr. Ockerbloom for clearing up this mystery. In any case, the version now at sacred-texts is a completely new e-text, which I believe to be a much better version of this text.

Egyptian Book of the Dead
Part 1

Part 2

They make it look like stealing Egyptian art was meant for preservation, when they are the ones putting a price tag on everything and ragging war. Since everything is over why not return what you have stolen so far.

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Purpose of the Egyptian Book of the Dead
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Part 2 of 6

Part 3 of 6

Part 4 of 6

Part 5 of 6

Part 6 of 6

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