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Book of the Dead
Book of the Dead , ancient Egyptian collection of mortuary texts made up of spells or magic formulas, placed in tombs and believed to protect and aid the deceased in the hereafter. Probably compiled and reedited during the 16th century bce , the collection included Coffin Texts dating from c. Later compilations included hymns to Re , the sun god. Numerous authors, compilers, and sources contributed to the work. Scribes copied the texts on rolls of papyrus , often colourfully illustrated, and sold them to individuals for burial use.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead is a collection of spells which enable the soul of the deceased to navigate the afterlife. Although the work is often referred to as "the Ancient Egyptian Bible " it is no such thing although the two works share the similarity of being ancient compilations of texts written at different times eventually gathered together in book form. The Book of the Dead was never codified and no two copies of the work are exactly the same. They were created specifically for each individual who could afford to purchase one as a kind of manual to help them after death. Egyptologist Geralidine Pinch explains:. After the Book of the Dead was first translated by Egyptologists, it gained a place in the popular imagination as the Bible of the Ancient Egyptians.
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The Book of the Dead , which was placed in the coffin or burial chamber of the deceased, was part of a tradition of funerary texts which includes the earlier Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts , which were painted onto objects, not written on papyrus. Some of the spells included in the book were drawn from these older works and date to the 3rd millennium BCE., All rights reserved.
By Kellie Warren. The Book of the Dead prevails in both popular culture and current scholarship as one of the most famous aspects of ancient Egyptian culture. Familiar scenes - like a scale weighing a heart of the deceased against a feather or the eternal destruction of a soul by a deity composed of animal parts - originate from the Book of the Dead. With such impressive narratives, it is clear why Egyptian beliefs about the afterlife are so thoroughly ingrained in our collective memory. So what is the Book of the Dead, how was it significant to Egyptians in the past and how do Egyptologists use this important resource today? These texts served as a guide for the dead to use on their journeys to the afterlife. The Book of the Dead first appeared in the New Kingdom, but the text evolved from a long tradition of magical funerary writing.