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Egyptian Heaven and Hell

Egyptian Heaven and Hell

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Sacred Texts Egypt EHH Index Index Next 
The Egyptian Heaven and Hell
by E. A. Wallis Budge
London; Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.[1905]
Scanned at Sacred-texts.com, May 2003. J.B. Hare, Redactor. This text is in the public domain. These files may be used for anynon-commercial purpose, provided this notice of attribution is left intact.
Click to viewScene from the Papyrus of Nekht, allowing the deceased and the wife worshipping Osiris in the Other World, and the manner of the housein which they expect to live, and their vineyard and garden with its lake of water. (British Museum, No. 10,471, sheet 21.)
Next: Preface
Sacred Texts Egypt EHH Index Index Previous Next 
p. vi
THE present work is the outcome of two lectures on the Books of the Tuat, i.e., the EgyptianUnderworld, or "Other World," which I had the honour to deliver at the Royal Institution in the spring of 1904, and it has been prepared at the suggestion of many who wished to continue their inquiries into thebeliefs of the Egyptians concerning the abode of the departed, and the state of the blessed and thedamned.The object of all the Books of the Other World was to provide the dead with a "Guide" or "Handbook,"which contained a description of the regions through which their souls would have to pass on their wayto the kingdom of Osiris, or to that portion of the sky where the sun rose, and which would supply themwith the words of power and magical names necessary for making an unimpeded journey from this worldto the abode of the blessed. For a period of two thousand years in the history of Egypt, the Books of theOther World consisted of texts only, but about B.C. 2500
p. viii
funeral artists began to represent pictorially the chief features of the "Field of Peace," or "Islands of theBlessed," and before the close of the XIXth Dynasty, about 1300 years later, all the principal booksrelating to the Tuat were profusely illustrated. In the copies of them which were painted on the walls of royal tombs, each division of the Tuat was clearly drawn and described, and each gate, with all itsguardians, was carefully depicted. Both the living and the dead could learn from them, not only thenames, but also the forms, of every god, spirit, soul, shade, demon, and monster which they were likelyto meet on their way, and the copious texts which were given side by side with the pictures enabled thetraveller through the Tuat--always, of course, provided that he had learned them--to participate in thebenefits which were decreed by the Sun-god for the beings of each section of it.In primitive times each great city of Egypt possessed its own Other World, and, no doubt, the priests of each city provided the worshippers of their gods with suitable "guides" to the abode of its dead. In thebeginning of the Dynastic Period, however, we find that the cult of Osiris was extremely popular, andtherefore it was only natural that great numbers of people in all parts of Egypt should hope and believethat their souls after death would go to the kingdom in the Other World over which he reigned. Thebeliefs connected with the cult of Osiris developed naturally
p. ix
out of the beliefs of the Predynastic Egyptians, who, we have every reason to think, dealt largely in magicboth "Black" and "White." Many of the superstitions, and most of the fantastic and half-savage ideasabout the gods and supernatural powers enshrined in the great collection of religious texts calledPER-EM-HRU, were inherited by the Dynastic Egyptians from some of the oldest dwellers in the NileValley. Those who died in the faith of Osiris believed in the efficacy of the Book PER-EM-HRU, andwere content to employ it as a "Guide" to a heaven which was full of material delights; the number of those who were "followers" of Osiris was very large under every dynasty in Egypt. On the other hand,from the IVth Dynasty onwards there was a very large class who had no belief in a purely materialheaven, and this being so, it is not surprising that Books of the Other World containing the expression of their views should be composed.
The principal Books of the Underworld in vogue under the XVIIIth and XIXth Dynasties were:--1.PER-EM-HRU, or, "[The Book] of the Coming Forth by Day." 2. SHAT ENT AM TUAT, or, "The Bookof that which is in the Tuat." 3. The composition to which the name "Book of Gates" has been given.Now the first of these, which is commonly known as the "Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead,"has supplied us with much valuable information about the beliefs which flourished in connection with anearly form of the ancient cult of Osiris in the Delta, and
p. x
with the later form of his worship, after he had absorbed the position and attributes of Khenti-Amenti, anold local deity of Abydos. The two other Books, however, are as important, each in its own way, as the"Book of the Dead," for they throw considerable light on the development of the material and spiritualelements in the religion of Egypt, and commemorate the belief in the existence of numbers of primitivegods, who are unknown outside these Books. The "Book Am-Tuat," in the form in which we know it,was drawn up by the priests of the confraternity of Amen-Ra at Thebes, with the express object of demonstrating that their god was the overlord of all the gods, and the supreme power in "Pet Ta Tuat," or,as we should say, "Heaven, Earth, and Hell." The Tuat, or Other World, which they imagined includedthe Tuat of every great district of Egypt, viz., the Tuat of Khenti-Amenti at Abydos, the Tuat of Seker of Memphis, the Tuat of Osiris of Mendes, and the Tuat of Temu-Kheper-Ra of Heliopolis.In the BOOK AM-TUAT the god Amen-Ra was made to pass through all these Tuats as their overlordand god, and his priests taught that all the gods of the dead, including Osiris, lived through his words,and that such refreshing as the beings of the Tuat enjoyed each day was due to his grace and light duringhis passage through their regions and Circles. Moreover, according to the dogmas of the priests of Amen-Ra, only those who were fortunate enough to secure a place
p. xi
in the divine bark of the god could hope to traverse the Tuat unharmed, and only those who were hiselect had the certainty of being re-born daily, with a new supply of strength and life, and of becoming of like nature and substance with him.In the BOOK OF GATES the dogmas and doctrines of Osiris are far more prominent, and the state of thebeatified closely resembles that described in the "Book of the Dead." In primitive times in Egypt menthought that they would obtain admission into the kingdom of Hetep by learning and remembering thesecret name of this god and certain magical formulae, and by pronouncing them in the correct way at theproper time. The need for a consciousness of sin, and repentance, and a life of good works, were notthen held to be indispensable for admission into the abode of the beatified. From the "Book of Gates,"however, we learn that in the later Dynastic Period a belief was prevalent that those who worshipped the"great god" on earth, and made all the duly-appointed offerings, and turned not aside to "miserable littlegods," and lived according to
, i.e., uprightness and integrity, would receive a good reward becausethey had done these things. The texts in these Books state that the beatified live for ever in the kingdomof Osiris, and feed daily upon the heavenly wheat of righteousness that springs from the body of Osiris,which is eternal; he is righteousness itself, and they are righteous, and they live by eating the body of their god daily. On the other hand, the
p. xii
wicked, i.e., those who did not believe in the great god or make offerings, are hacked to pieces by thedivine messengers of wrath, and their bodies, souls, and spirits are consumed by fire once and for all.The Egyptians had no belief in a purgatory. The fires of the Other World were, it is true, occupied dailyin burning up the damned and the opponents of the Sun-god, but each day brought its own supply of bodies, souls, spirits, demons, etc., for annihilation. In all the Books of the Other World we find pits of 

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