Summary

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

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The god Temu, the spirit of creation, manifests first as Ptah and then as the
word spoken by Ptah, which brings creation into existence. Ptah creates first
himself, then the other gods, and finally creates Egypt, by speaking the divine
words that make the gods aware of themselves; thus, all of creation exists as
different aspects, or “faces,” of Ptah, and of his words. Immediately after he
speaks these first powerful magic words, while the earth and the waters of
primordial chaos are still in the process of separating themselves, Ptah
promises eternity to the dead who are not yet born. On that same day, the god
Anubis, protector of the souls of the dead, allots to each person a destiny and
holds all these fates in readiness.
For mortals, the immediate earthly manifestation of Ptah is Ra, the sun, and it
is in this form that they most often contemplate the one God. Priests use
many names to refer to the different faces of God; these names vary from
place to place, but the names that the gods give themselves are hidden,
because in their names lies their essence, and so their power. By a stratagem,
Isis learns the hidden name of Ra and, with a power derived from his,
becomes queen of the goddesses. Her power is illustrated by the story of her
healing of her mate, the god Osiris.
Osiris is murdered by Set, his brother, who in his malice cuts the body of
Osiris into pieces and scatters them across northern Africa. Isis, weeping,
gathers these pieces together and rejoins them, and from the corpse
conceives Horus, their son. Then she brings Osiris back to life, leads him
before the gods, and brings him into new forms, with new powers. It is through
this rebirth that Osiris becomes the principle of birth and rebirth. He is the

All the dead who receive the proper rites and who perform the sacred rituals are reborn in the afterlife as new forms of Osiris and share his glory. They considered animals such as the bull. Often gods and goddesses were represented as part human and part animal. to the rebirth in the afterlife of the pharaohs. or the worship of many deities. who published a selection of some texts in 1842. from the first new life of sprouting corn and all the life it brings in its turn. The Egyptian "Book of the Dead" contains the major ideas and beliefs in the ancient Egyptian religion. Egyptians devoted much time and energy into preparing for their journey to the "next world. Because their religion stressed an afterlife.fountainhead through which the earth receives life. Osiris was the god of the underworld and was the god that made a peaceful afterlife possible. combined with a heavenly power. The Egyptian Book of the Dead 1240 BC THE PAPYRUS OF ANI Translated by E. their bodies are made whole and perfect. Egyptian religion was based on polytheism. Wallis Budge The Book of the Dead is the common name for the ancient Egyptian funerary texts known as The Book of Coming [or Going] Forth By Day. Amon-Ra was believed to be the sun god and the lord of the universe.A. Religion guided every aspect of Egyptian life. Like him. The name "Book of the Dead" was the invention of the German Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius. Their two chief gods were Amon-Ra and Osiris. the cat." ... The Egyptians had as many as 2000 gods and goddesses each representing characteristics of a specific earthly force. and the crocodile to be holy.

both of which were eventually superseded by the Book of the Dead. 2600 BC-2300 BC). known as the Coffin Texts (ca. Other texts often accompanied the primary texts including the hypocephalus (meaning 'under the head') which was a primer version of the full text.The text was initially carved on the exterior of the deceased person's sarcophagus. depending on the prominence and other class factors of the deceased.however. passwords. but was later written on papyrus now known as scrolls and buried inside the sarcophagus with the deceased.so no two copies contain the same text . The god Thoth would record the results and the monster Ammit would wait nearby to eat the heart should it prove unworthy. The text was often individualized for the deceased person . Knowledge of the appropriate spells was considered essential to achieving happiness after death. and if the heart was not weighed down with sin (if it was lighter than the feather) he was allowed to go on. The most important was the weighing of the heart of the dead person against Ma'at. charms. Books of the Dead constituted as a collection of spells. They were intended to guide the dead through the various trials that they would encounter before reaching the underworld. 1580 BC–1350 BC). 2000 BC) and the Pyramid Texts (ca. The heart of the dead was weighed against a feather. "book" versions are generally categorized into four main divisions – the Heliopolitan version. Spells or enchantments vary in distinctive ways between the texts of differing "mummies" or sarcophagi. numbers and magical formulas for the use of the deceased in the afterlife. Books of the Dead were usually illustrated with pictures showing the tests to which the deceased would be subjected. It partly incorporated two previous collections of Egyptian religious literature. This described many of the basic tenets of Egyptian mythology. or Truth (carried out by Anubis). presumably so that it would be both portable and close at hand. which was edited by the priests of the college of Annu (used from the 5th to . The earliest known versions date from the 16th century BC during the 18th Dynasty (ca.

was originally 78 Ft. . the Theban version.the 11th dynasty and on walls of tombs until about 200). and was separated into 37 sheets at appropriate chapter and topical divisions. and the Saite version which has strict order (used after the 26th dynasty). which had no fixed order of chapters (used mainly in the 20th dynasty). closely related to the Theban version. It is notable. which contained hieroglyphics only (20th to the 28th dynasty). a hieroglyphic and hieratic character version. the Papyrus of Ani. that the Book of the Dead for Scribe Ani.