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Journey Through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead (edition 2010)

by John H. Taylor

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531221,808 (4.75)None
Member:lsolt
Title:Journey Through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead
Authors:John H. Taylor
Info:Harvard University Press (2010), Edition: First, Hardcover, 312 pages
Collections:Your library, Egyptian themed books
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Tags:Egyptian

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Journey Through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead by John H. Taylor

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Pros: lots of gorgeous coloured photos, detailed chapters, covers numerous aspects surrounding death and the afterlife

Cons: no complete text translation

This is a gorgeous pictorial overview of what we call the Egyptian Book of the Dead and what the ancient Egyptians called The Book of Coming Forth by Day. It evolved over time as a collection of knowledge and spells designed to help those for whom they were made, and with whom they were buried, find their way through the perils of the afterlife and judgement so they could ‘live’ again.

Journey Through the Afterlife takes examples from dozens of papyrus roles that have been recovered to discuss their purpose, the Egyptian view of death and the afterlife, burial practices and the act of preparing the rolls themselves.

Each chapter ends with several examples of what was discussed, often including supplementary information in their explanatory passages.

I was surprised by how many of the medieval views of magic (which I studied in university and elsewhere) started in Egypt. For example: the belief that words have power, both when spoken and written. The use of amulets. The importance of knowing the true name of spirits/gods/demons in order to have power over them. Making protective circles drawn with ‘wands’. Using ‘virgin’ (unused) papyrus (in the middle ages it would have been unused parchment) for spells. The importance of ritual in the efficacy of magic, etc.

It would have been nice had a translation of the full text of the Egyptian Book of the Dead been included, but as this book is intended as a companion guide to the texts, it’s not surprising they didn’t have room for it.

The is a beautiful and highly informative book if you have an interest in ancient Egypt, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, views of the afterlife or the ancient practice of magic. ( )
  Strider66 | Apr 9, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0674057503, Hardcover)

The Book of the Dead is not a single text but a compilation of spells that the ancient Egyptians believed would assist them in the afterlife as they made their perilous journey toward the realm of the gods and the ultimate state of eternity. No two copies are identical. The spells are often accompanied by colored vignettes, which graphically show the imagined landscape of the Netherworld, the gods and demons whom the deceased will meet, and the critical “weighing of the heart”—the judgment that will determine whether the traveler will be admitted into the afterlife or condemned to destruction by the monstrous “Devourer.”

With contributions from leading scholars and detailed catalog entries that interpret the spells and painted scenes, this fascinating and important book affords a greater understanding of ancient Egyptian belief systems and poignantly reveals the hopes and fears of mortal man about the “world” beyond death. The whole is beautifully illustrated with specially commissioned photographs of these exceptional papyri and an array of contextual funerary objects—painted coffins, gilded masks, amulets, jewelry, tomb figurines, and mummy trappings.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:02 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"The Book of the Dead" is not a single text but a compilation of spells that the ancient Egyptians believed would assist them in the afterlife as they made their perilous journey toward the realm of the gods and the ultimate state of eternity. No two copies are identical. The spells are often accompanied by colored vignettes, which graphically show the imagined landscape of the Netherworld, the gods and demons whom the deceased will meet, and the critical 'weighing of the heart' - the judgment that will determine whether the traveler will be admitted into the afterlife or condemned to destruction by the monstrous 'Devourer'. With contributions from leading scholars and detailed catalog entries that interpret the spells and painted scenes, this fascinating and important book affords a greater understanding of ancient Egyptian belief systems and poignantly reveals the hopes and fears of mortal man about the 'world' beyond death.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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