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The Book Of The Dead: By E. A. Wallis Budge - Illustrated (Comes with a Free Audiobook)

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How is this book unique? Original & Unabridged Edition Tablet and e-reader formatted Short Biography is also included 15 Illustrations are included One of the best books to read Best fiction books of all time Bestselling Novel Classic historical fiction books The Book of the Dead is an ancient Egyptian funerary text, used from the beginning of the Ne How is this book unique? Original & Unabridged Edition Tablet and e-reader formatted Short Biography is also included 15 Illustrations are included One of the best books to read Best fiction books of all time Bestselling Novel Classic historical fiction books The Book of the Dead is an ancient Egyptian funerary text, used from the beginning of the New Kingdom (around 1550 BCE) to around 50 BCE. The original Egyptian name for the text, transliterated rw nw prt m hrw is translated as Book of Coming Forth by Day. Another translation would be Book of emerging forth into the Light. "Book" is the closest term to describe the loose collection of texts consisting of a number of magic spells intended to assist a dead person's journey through the Duat, or underworld, and into the afterlife and written by many priests over a period of about 1000 years.


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How is this book unique? Original & Unabridged Edition Tablet and e-reader formatted Short Biography is also included 15 Illustrations are included One of the best books to read Best fiction books of all time Bestselling Novel Classic historical fiction books The Book of the Dead is an ancient Egyptian funerary text, used from the beginning of the Ne How is this book unique? Original & Unabridged Edition Tablet and e-reader formatted Short Biography is also included 15 Illustrations are included One of the best books to read Best fiction books of all time Bestselling Novel Classic historical fiction books The Book of the Dead is an ancient Egyptian funerary text, used from the beginning of the New Kingdom (around 1550 BCE) to around 50 BCE. The original Egyptian name for the text, transliterated rw nw prt m hrw is translated as Book of Coming Forth by Day. Another translation would be Book of emerging forth into the Light. "Book" is the closest term to describe the loose collection of texts consisting of a number of magic spells intended to assist a dead person's journey through the Duat, or underworld, and into the afterlife and written by many priests over a period of about 1000 years.

30 review for The Book Of The Dead: By E. A. Wallis Budge - Illustrated (Comes with a Free Audiobook)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    How can you not give this 5 stars when it lays out for you the exact procedure one needs to follow to ensure one's entrance into the afterlife How can you not give this 5 stars when it lays out for you the exact procedure one needs to follow to ensure one's entrance into the afterlife

  2. 5 out of 5

    Horace Derwent

    i read this almost 20 years ago, i guess (in the late spring or the early fall of 2001?), i just felt my brain was turned into porridge as I'd finished reading it at last. now i still can't figure out how many stars i can give to rate this book, but i still remember that there were many stars around my head when i was reading this book, and what else i can remember is that i can remember my brain is still porridge and that's all my review to this book :) i read this almost 20 years ago, i guess (in the late spring or the early fall of 2001?), i just felt my brain was turned into porridge as I'd finished reading it at last. now i still can't figure out how many stars i can give to rate this book, but i still remember that there were many stars around my head when i was reading this book, and what else i can remember is that i can remember my brain is still porridge and that's all my review to this book :)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    This work is a historical document of enormous importance for the understanding of the theology and beliefs of pharaonic Egypt which is why I am giving it five stars. It has no literary, philosophical or theological values per se. A Book of Dead is a collection of spells inserted in the tomb of a deceased person that he or she is to use in the journey to the afterworld. Reading them is a rather peculiar experience It is like reading a holy litany rather than reciting it out loud. Nonetheless for This work is a historical document of enormous importance for the understanding of the theology and beliefs of pharaonic Egypt which is why I am giving it five stars. It has no literary, philosophical or theological values per se. A Book of Dead is a collection of spells inserted in the tomb of a deceased person that he or she is to use in the journey to the afterworld. Reading them is a rather peculiar experience It is like reading a holy litany rather than reciting it out loud. Nonetheless for the reader determined to learn more about ancient Egypt, the exercise is very worthwhile. Having been aware for many years of the strange anthropomorphic pantheon of Egyptian Gods typically possessing animal heads with human bodies, I had considered pharaonic religion to be rather primitive. Reading it has led me to wonder if it in fact it is not reasonably close to modern religions. Wallis Budge the translator and editor of the version that I read believed that Egyptian religion was fundamentally monotheistic and promoted a moral code of conduct. The least that can be said is that this translation supports this thesis very well. Budge's book is an absolute delight. The words of his English text are placed below the original hieroglyphs which serves to add an element of visual enjoyment that considerably livens the very dull text. I read the Book of the Dead because of a deeply ingrained prejudice that I acquired as an undergraduate in history that in order to study history one must read contemporary documents and literature in addition to the works of modern historians. The experience has provided considerable insight into the challenges faced by professional historians in drawing conclusions about pharaonic religion. The one thing that I have taken away is that it is more sophisticated than I had previously believed.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kellyanne

    Hello! Ok first off your not going to understand all of this book.. The less schooled persons of ancient Egyptian culture will probably not even know 50% of this novel. I have been learning hieroglyphs and ancient Egyptian., so this book was amazing to me, one fact above all others is that you are holding in your hands an ancient guide for the dearly departed.. The trouble many scholars went through over the years to translate this book was harrowing and seemed fruitless... Especially when Cham Hello! Ok first off your not going to understand all of this book.. The less schooled persons of ancient Egyptian culture will probably not even know 50% of this novel. I have been learning hieroglyphs and ancient Egyptian., so this book was amazing to me, one fact above all others is that you are holding in your hands an ancient guide for the dearly departed.. The trouble many scholars went through over the years to translate this book was harrowing and seemed fruitless... Especially when Champollion (yes one of the discoverers of the Rosetta Stone) realized he was translating it all wrong!! When e Wallace budge came along, the inscriptions were translated the correct way.. But so much mystery surrounds this book and the culture itself... To start reading this book with the notion that you will understand everything within the pages is stupidity.. Just relax and just accept the fact that there is great understanding in the things that you don't understand.. If you can grasp that concept then challenge yourself with this one.. It is more than a book, but an experience of the senses .., Happy readings!' May god bless you, in the here, now and the after....

  5. 4 out of 5

    Connor

    What fascinates me about ancient Egypt is how utterly mysterious it is. A civilisation that lasted 4000 years and only about 1000 pages of literature. There are so many gaps to fill. This volume by the esteemed budge is a great addition to my Near Eastern library and is a classic of scholarship. The volume consists of various papyri such as the one of Ani, filled with hymns for Ra etc and other such glimpses into Egyptian religious practice. Very much like our own, Egypt was entranced by death a What fascinates me about ancient Egypt is how utterly mysterious it is. A civilisation that lasted 4000 years and only about 1000 pages of literature. There are so many gaps to fill. This volume by the esteemed budge is a great addition to my Near Eastern library and is a classic of scholarship. The volume consists of various papyri such as the one of Ani, filled with hymns for Ra etc and other such glimpses into Egyptian religious practice. Very much like our own, Egypt was entranced by death and sought any means to ease the passage into death and the afterlife. This can be seen clearly through their writings such as the Egyptian book of the dead. I am still currently reading this, but I had to give it 5/5 considering how significant it is to an understanding of Egyptian history and religion.

  6. 4 out of 5

    shakespeareandspice

    Because this isn’t so much of a book you read from start to end like any other, it took me almost two years to finish this. Having purchased this because of my childhood fascination with Ancient Egyptian culture, this was completely worth the read. The introduction was incredible helpful and, as far as I can tell, translation was good as well. I would only recommend this to someone who is really willing to put the time, patience, and energy into learning more about this culture. There is a lot o Because this isn’t so much of a book you read from start to end like any other, it took me almost two years to finish this. Having purchased this because of my childhood fascination with Ancient Egyptian culture, this was completely worth the read. The introduction was incredible helpful and, as far as I can tell, translation was good as well. I would only recommend this to someone who is really willing to put the time, patience, and energy into learning more about this culture. There is a lot of material that can feel receptive and dull but keep in mind that this is a collection gathering over 2,000 years of an Ancient culture.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Barnaby Thieme

    This is a beautiful book - a large-format facsimile reproduction of the Papyrus of Ani in large color images with translation of the hieroglyphs beneath. The pictures comprising the bulk of the book are not of the Papyrus itself, held in the British National Museum; rather it is a reproduction of a carefully-made imitation of the original. The translation is quite readable and there are several useful essays and commentaries written by competent egyptologists. Because of the compositional unity This is a beautiful book - a large-format facsimile reproduction of the Papyrus of Ani in large color images with translation of the hieroglyphs beneath. The pictures comprising the bulk of the book are not of the Papyrus itself, held in the British National Museum; rather it is a reproduction of a carefully-made imitation of the original. The translation is quite readable and there are several useful essays and commentaries written by competent egyptologists. Because of the compositional unity of hieroglyphic writing and accompanying illustrations, it is highly desirable to read a translation like this which lavishes attention on the presentation of the images. The text itself is a well-preserved specimen of a genre of funerary texts referred to in aggregate as "The Book of Going Forth by Day". It is a collection of spells and instructions buried with wealthy Egyptians to assist them in penetrating to the Hall of Two Truths where they could submit themselves to be judged for a proper dispensation in the afterlife. Most of the text is an assortment of miscellaneous incantations and lists of formulae to be recited at the appropriate time to the various guardians. There is a great deal of material here of considerable interest to the student of mythology. Because the Egyptians provided very little in the way of religious narrative, most of what we know about their beliefs is extrapolated from texts like this work, and similar collections of funerary writings such as the Pyramid Texts an Coffin Texts. This particular scroll was prepared for a wealthy scribe named Ani. It is a good specimen but does not contain every chapter found in the genre. A very useful supplement is included in this volume which presents the chapters not contained herein which are found in the Theban recension of this work. This is a superb volume by every metric and it is an absolute cornerstone of the study of Egyptian religion.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    I'm sure at some point in your life, you have wondered about the afterlife. What will happen to you after you die? Have you been good enough? Will your religious faith pay off with rewards of the afterlife? Will your heart weigh the same as the feather of Maat or will your soul be eaten by Ammat? Although you may have prayed to Osiris, Ra, and Isis and all the deities from Horus and Thoth to Sobek and Anubis, there is no sense in taking chances. That is why you need The Egyptian Book of the Dead I'm sure at some point in your life, you have wondered about the afterlife. What will happen to you after you die? Have you been good enough? Will your religious faith pay off with rewards of the afterlife? Will your heart weigh the same as the feather of Maat or will your soul be eaten by Ammat? Although you may have prayed to Osiris, Ra, and Isis and all the deities from Horus and Thoth to Sobek and Anubis, there is no sense in taking chances. That is why you need The Egyptian Book of the Dead. Why should only Pharaohs and high priests have all the prayers needed for the afterlife inscribed in their fancy tombs? This book reproduces in full a complete book of the dead, containing all the prayers you will need to guide you through to Anubis and Osiris for the weighing of the heart and prayers to make sure that your body makes it into the afterlife. The complete text is in here in both Egyptian hieroglyphs and English translation. This book is a beautiful oversized book (13" x 9") that reproduces one of the complete Scrolls of the Dead that belonged to Ani, a high Egyptian official. The book of the dead was a papyrus scroll that contained all the prayers one would need for the journey from the living to the afterlife, including the all important weighing of the heart ceremony. The photographs of the scroll have been retouched to show how the scroll would have originally looked and they are beautiful. Although you probably can't read hieroglyphs, the illustrations are easy enough to read, and one can easily recognize the various gods in the illustrations. (assuming that one has studied a bit about ancient Egypt). The book has a detailed introduction that explains how these 'books of the dead' were used and detailed commentaries on each of the 37 plates that are included (*plates meaning sections of the papyrus scroll). The translations, even in English, have a sublime beauty in them that to me are every bit as beautiful as passages from the Bible, the Pali Canon or the Baghavad Gita. In the Chapter for going out into the day after opening the tomb "O you Soul, greatly majestic I behold, I have come that I may see you, I open the Duat that I may see my father Osiris and drive away darkness, for I am beloved of him. I have come that I may see my father Osiris and that I may cut out the heart of Seth who has harmed my father Osiris. I have opened up every path which is in the sky and on earth, for I am the well beloved son of my father Osiris. I am noble, I am a spirit, I am equipped. O all you gods and all you spirits, prepare a path for me." If ancient Egypt fascinates you, you should have at least one translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead in your collection. I loved this one for its detailed copies of the complete scroll, translation and explanations. The only complaint I have is that the translations don't line up with the hieroglyphs, so you can't really learn hieroglyphs with this book. The photo of the scroll with illustrations and hieroglyphs is shown on each page at the top with the English translation below. Don't go to the Underworld without it!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    I think this book may be the most important I've ever read up to this point, Not necessarily because it's had a great amount of impact on me, But because of it's existence, The book theoretically, Shouldn't be with us today, This was a book not mean't for our eyes originally, It was mean't for the man who commissioned it and later on, Had it buried with, This man's name was Ani of Thebes and he lived in Egypt over 3,000 years ago. Now for the actual contents in this book, It's not the most specia I think this book may be the most important I've ever read up to this point, Not necessarily because it's had a great amount of impact on me, But because of it's existence, The book theoretically, Shouldn't be with us today, This was a book not mean't for our eyes originally, It was mean't for the man who commissioned it and later on, Had it buried with, This man's name was Ani of Thebes and he lived in Egypt over 3,000 years ago. Now for the actual contents in this book, It's not the most special, But it is indeed interesting to read with a very detailed collection of hymns, Spells, Speeches and confessions, The latter of which is doubtful of it's subject matter, I highly suspect that Ani did in fact do some of the "sins" mentioned. And yes, This is why it's called the Book of the Dead, This text was written for Ani so that, When he died, He could use the spells or hymns or pre-written confessions to his advantage whilst traveling through the Duat or "underworld" in the hope of going into the afterlife, That is of course, If he passes the various challenges, Does not get eaten by Apep, Passes the aforementioned confessions and also, The weighting of the heart. Now despite the obvious similarity of the Bible or any other religious text of the same kind, I wouldn't call it as such, It does not give a detailed explanation about the gods, Par for the various mentioning's of them, Nor does it give any sort of linear story, This is simply a collection of texts which was buried in a tomb for 3,000 years, And as i said at the start of this review, That was one of the main reasons for the high liking of his book, The fact that this is a book, Mean't for a long-dead Egyptian man, Makes it feel not only personal, But also special and one of a kind, This is why it's important, I know it may not sound like much, But to myself, It does. I give this book a rating of five stars or 10/10.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eric Hertenstein

    I can't really rate this book, because I didn't really understand it. But it's really funny if you take it literally, you know, like, "Boat bird staff staff, eye dog bird staff man reed boat!" And also it's an interesting window into the rituals of an ancient blah, blah . . . I can't really rate this book, because I didn't really understand it. But it's really funny if you take it literally, you know, like, "Boat bird staff staff, eye dog bird staff man reed boat!" And also it's an interesting window into the rituals of an ancient blah, blah . . .

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elliot A

    A wealth of information. I struggled a bit, though, because it assumes a working knowledge of the culture, history and religion of the ancient Egyptians. Nevertheless, the introduction was long enough to be a book in itself and was very helpful in gaining greater insight into a topic that has fascinated me for years. The inclusion of the hieroglyphics with the translation underneath each line were a great treat. ElliotScribbles A wealth of information. I struggled a bit, though, because it assumes a working knowledge of the culture, history and religion of the ancient Egyptians. Nevertheless, the introduction was long enough to be a book in itself and was very helpful in gaining greater insight into a topic that has fascinated me for years. The inclusion of the hieroglyphics with the translation underneath each line were a great treat. ElliotScribbles

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    This translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead has a lot of great illustrations, which, for an amateur art history buff, are gravy. Unfortunately, the scholarly value of this edition isn’t so great. Seleem seems to have embraced Egyptian religion wholeheartedly, and spends most of the commentary pointing out how advanced the Egyptians were and how their spirituality is superior to Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions. (He also seems to think that said traditions come from Egyptian ideas.) H This translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead has a lot of great illustrations, which, for an amateur art history buff, are gravy. Unfortunately, the scholarly value of this edition isn’t so great. Seleem seems to have embraced Egyptian religion wholeheartedly, and spends most of the commentary pointing out how advanced the Egyptians were and how their spirituality is superior to Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions. (He also seems to think that said traditions come from Egyptian ideas.) He also made a lot of references to mistranslations which he, in his magnanimity, has corrected; for example, the word that has been typically translated as “god” really means “law”. According to him, the Egyptians were monotheistic; the various “gods” were really “laws”, aspects of the natural order. (I feel obliged to point out that the Greeks were also monotheistic in this sense, as they too believed in a single, impersonal deity, which was above and beyond the shenanigans and goings-on on Mount Olympus.) The Book of the Dead, which Seleem says should be translated as the Book of Coming Forth by Day, is a guide to the afterlife. It was typically buried with the dead to provide them a sort of map through Purgatory (which they called “the Dwat”) to Heaven, where they were either reincarnated or permitted to go to the Elysian fields. Seleem points out that this idea of reincarnation appeared in the Hindu religion as well, and, he thinks, was borrowed from Egyptian spirituality, since the soul is reincarnated if it hasn’t been sufficiently righteous. Among his other irrelevant New Age-y asides, Seleem specifically repudiates Christianity, stating that the Egyptian religion is superior because salvation is by an individual’s acts, not by Christ. In addition, he remarks at one point, “Christ was crucified by those who later glorified him.” Such statements hardly increase one’s confidence in the accuracy of the translation. If you’re looking for a shallow overview of the Book of the Dead with some awesome pictures, this is a good edition. But if you’re looking for a scholarly treatment of the subject, which I was, you’d better look elsewhere.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Crito

    The Egyptian Book of the Dead is a set of rituals and incantations from an ancient civilization, and that will immediately set anyone’s interest or disinterest. The thing that interested me the most is when I realized what an expression of death anxiety these rituals, this religion, and this culture is. They worship and follow Osiris so they too can be resurrected, the name Osiris is associated with the deceased so they can invoke him, they apply rigorous embalming so no corpse could be corrupte The Egyptian Book of the Dead is a set of rituals and incantations from an ancient civilization, and that will immediately set anyone’s interest or disinterest. The thing that interested me the most is when I realized what an expression of death anxiety these rituals, this religion, and this culture is. They worship and follow Osiris so they too can be resurrected, the name Osiris is associated with the deceased so they can invoke him, they apply rigorous embalming so no corpse could be corrupted with worms and decay further, there are incantations for deifying each body part to invoke immortality into them, there are reincarnation cycles. There is this incredible obsession over preservation and immortality that I can’t help but read into it this terrible existential cry of mortality. When I read a passage like, “I shall not decay, I shall not rot, I shall not putrefy, I shall not turn into worms, and I shall not see corruption before the eye of the god Shu. I shall live, I shall live; I shall flourish, I shall flourish, I shall flourish, I shall wake up in peace” (CLIV 17-18), it reads desperate and fearful to me. Death anxiety is the foundation for many afterlife beliefs, but none of them go quite this far in the deep about it, and that’s what I found so compelling here. Everyone knows the pyramids, but after reading this I now see them as massive monuments screaming “don’t let me die, let me live on forever,” and yet as the famous poem goes, nothing beside remains. Beyond that, there are some real interesting figures of speech put into it (a lot of cool metaphors about the sun and the sky), and you can see tiny seeds that would later spread, such as exhortations reminiscent of the Biblical Hebrew poetry (the phrase “go in peace” makes a cameo), and a handful of passages that you might find echoing in the trips to Hades in Homer and Vergil. To be sure, I wouldn’t put this as compulsory reading, the most you would get out of this is feeding a curiosity that you may or may not have. But it’s not a big investment either, the original hieroglyphics are typically included which makes the page counts bigger than the actual work is. I’d recommend it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    I've been slowly reading this. It's a lot more legalistic and formal than a lot of other religious texts I've read. Surprised by how explicit it is in some sections and open-ended in others. Clearly a lot of variability was allowed in what they believed. A set of rules and instructions for living the "good life", most of them seem pretty cool-headed and rational. Surprised how modern it all sounded. I've been slowly reading this. It's a lot more legalistic and formal than a lot of other religious texts I've read. Surprised by how explicit it is in some sections and open-ended in others. Clearly a lot of variability was allowed in what they believed. A set of rules and instructions for living the "good life", most of them seem pretty cool-headed and rational. Surprised how modern it all sounded.

  15. 4 out of 5

    George Mills

    The true title of this work should be, "The Book of Coming Forth by Day." It's purpose was to provide the dead pharaoh with the knowledge necessary to navigate the world of the dead so that he may be able to take his place on the great solar barge. It should be pointed out that this set of instructions was drawn up for an individual and there can be great discrepancies between it and books prepared for other individuals. This translation was intended for Egyptologists. It is not for people who a The true title of this work should be, "The Book of Coming Forth by Day." It's purpose was to provide the dead pharaoh with the knowledge necessary to navigate the world of the dead so that he may be able to take his place on the great solar barge. It should be pointed out that this set of instructions was drawn up for an individual and there can be great discrepancies between it and books prepared for other individuals. This translation was intended for Egyptologists. It is not for people who are simply interested in Egypt and Egyptian Myth and Religion. Indeed, the book only makes sense if one is quite familiar with Egyptian Myths, Religions, and Philosophies. Here, one must remember that Egyptian Society lasted for over 3,000 years. Although the shell and form of religions were maintained, each age had its own definition of the mythology and that the influence of individual gods waxed and waned during Egyptian history. As a footnote: This translation has also fallen out of favor with modern Egyptologists because (among other things) his translations are not sufficiently specific to the time period of this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    I bought this at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, CA because I've been fascinated for a long time with Egyptian rituals, particularly as they concern the ancients' views on the afterlife. The Egyptians believed that they could guide a soul to the afterlife by burying them with a copy of this book, which contained instructions and charms, spells, keys and other helps that the dead person was supposed to use along the path towards resurrection. Beautiful full-color hieroglyphic images I bought this at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, CA because I've been fascinated for a long time with Egyptian rituals, particularly as they concern the ancients' views on the afterlife. The Egyptians believed that they could guide a soul to the afterlife by burying them with a copy of this book, which contained instructions and charms, spells, keys and other helps that the dead person was supposed to use along the path towards resurrection. Beautiful full-color hieroglyphic images made from the original and complete papyrus of Ani found in 1888 accompany English translations of the text. Fascinating.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Max

    This book provides some informations about Egyptian Mithology and the role of the Dead in ancient Egypt colture. It is really not very entertaiment, infact sometimes is pretty boring. I'd like to read Egyptian Mithology in a different style. It is basically a summary of the book of dead but the original text is missing. I give it 3 stars, more 2.5 for me, cause there were a lot of informations that I didnt know. This book provides some informations about Egyptian Mithology and the role of the Dead in ancient Egypt colture. It is really not very entertaiment, infact sometimes is pretty boring. I'd like to read Egyptian Mithology in a different style. It is basically a summary of the book of dead but the original text is missing. I give it 3 stars, more 2.5 for me, cause there were a lot of informations that I didnt know.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Paul Haspel

    The Egyptians of pharaonic times thought a great deal about their mortality – about death and the afterlife – all of which makes them very much like many people of today. And the person of today who wants to understand more about ancient Egyptian beliefs regarding death and the afterlife would do well to read The Egyptian Book of the Dead. Throughout its history, the influence of the Book of the Dead has been considerable, particularly as it was translated by the well-known Egyptologist E.A. Wall The Egyptians of pharaonic times thought a great deal about their mortality – about death and the afterlife – all of which makes them very much like many people of today. And the person of today who wants to understand more about ancient Egyptian beliefs regarding death and the afterlife would do well to read The Egyptian Book of the Dead. Throughout its history, the influence of the Book of the Dead has been considerable, particularly as it was translated by the well-known Egyptologist E.A. Wallis Budge in 1899. As fellow Egyptologist John Romer explains in a helpful foreword, Wallis Budge, who came from humble antecedents and was largely self-educated, alienated the older generation of Egyptologists by his Johnny-come-lately presumptuousness. In later years, Wallis Budge’s work has been denounced by many modern Egyptologists for what they see as his “gentleman amateur” approach – a lack, they feel, of professionalism and scholarly rigour. And yet Wallis Budge, for all his many detractors (including James Spader’s character from the 1994 movie Stargate -- “Wallis Budge! Why do they keep reprinting him?”), remains the go-to Egyptologist for many; and it is his translation that Penguin Books chose for this 2008 reprinting of The Egyptian Book of the Dead as part of their Penguin Classics series. Why is that? Perhaps, Romer suggests, because Wallis Budge’s use of Biblically inflected cadences conveys to the modern English-speaking reader what a sacred thing it would have been, for a person of ancient Egypt, to encounter and read the spells or “chapters” that make up this text. This particular translation, as Romer explains, has had enormous resonance within Western culture, influencing everything from James Joyce’s experimental novel Finnegans Wake (1939) to Philip Glass’s opera Akhnaten (1983), and even some of the lyrics of rock musician Jim Morrison from The Doors. This edition of The Egyptian Book of the Dead benefits from including not only Romer’s modern foreword but also Wallis Budge’s original introduction. And that is most fortunate, because, for all the negative reactions that Wallis Budge has evoked among Egyptologists from his time to ours, he knew a lot about pharaonic Egypt, and does well at helping modern readers to understand the complexity of the ancient Egyptian religion. For example, it is important at the outset to understand that the Egyptian concept of the soul is much more complex than what most readers might be used to. For Aristotle, the soul (the psyche or Ψυχῆ) is that which gives a living thing life and awareness and the motivation to keep on living; in most branches of Christianity, it is the immortal spiritual part of a human being that leaves the body at death but will be reunited with a resurrected body at the Last Judgment. But what is the soul for an Egyptian from the time of the pharaohs? As Wallis Budge takes some pains to explain, it’s complicated. The nine parts of a human being included, among others things, the khat or physical body; the ka, the spiritual double to the physical body; the ba or “heart-soul”; the khaibit or “shadow”; the khu or spiritual soul; the sahu, the spiritual body or habitation of the soul; and the sekhem, the power or vital force animating a human being. Confused yet? As the spells or chapters of the Book of the Dead use these terms with considerable frequency, it may help you to familiarize yourself with all of these terms, in all their nuance and difficulty, before you move forward into the book proper. Conscientious to a fault, Wallis Budge even provides the reader with a précis for each and every chapter of the Book of the Dead. These chapter summaries provide the reader with a helpful sense of the great Egyptologist’s own impressions of the text, as when Wallis Budge writes of Chapter 125 that “This Chapter is one of the most interesting and remarkable in the Book of the Dead, and it illustrates the lofty moral and spiritual conceptions of the Egyptians in the XVIIIth Dynasty” (p. cciii). And indeed, this chapter is most informative for the modern reader, as it provides what Egyptologists call the “Negative Confession,” in which the recently deceased person, upon arrival in the underworld, assures 42 gods (!) that he or she has not committed any of 38 listed sins (!!). With regard to some of these sins, the citizen of the modern world may feel relatively safe telling the gods, for example, that he or she “had not stolen the offerings in the temple…or cut the bank of a canal” (pp. cciv-ccv). But when it comes to certifying that one “had not committed fornication” (p. cciv) – well, suffice it to say that not all people of modern times may be able to provide that assurance quite so easily. After all of this conscientious introducing and “forewording,” it is finally time to get on to the Book of the Dead itself. Wallis Budge’s above-mentioned use of Biblical diction emphasizes how sacred texts from religions around the world often offer similar assurances that God, or the gods, will provide divine justice to an often unjust world – as when one of the texts in Chapter 17, from the Papyrus of Ani, states that the hawk-headed god Horus “bestoweth wickedness on him that worketh wickedness, and right and truth upon him that followeth righteousness and truth” (pp. 104-05). The spells or chapters in the Book of the Dead have the shared goal of helping the recently deceased person successfully negotiate the complexities and challenges of the afterlife. The ancient Egyptians themselves would have known this book as The Book of Coming Forth by Day; and Chapter 64, “The Chapter of Coming Forth by Day,” is characteristic in the way in which the worshiper appeals to the sun god Ra regarding his or her prospects in the afterlife: “Make thou thy roads glad for me, and make broad for me thy paths when I shall set out from earth for the life in the celestial regions. Send forth thy light upon me, O Soul unknown, for I am [one] of those who are about to enter in, and the divine speech is in my ears in the Tuat [the underworld]” (p. 212). A reader of the Bible might see, in passages like that one, parallels with the ways in which King David appeals to God in the Psalms. And when Chapter 151 stipulates that “The great god…leadeth thee along the path of happiness, and sepulchral meals are bestowed upon thee; he overthroweth for thee [all] thine enemies, and setteth them under thee” (p. 507), I could not help but think of Psalm 23 in particular: “He leadeth me beside the still waters….[H]e leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies…my cup runneth over.” Biblical parallels may emerge even more forcefully for some readers once they get to Chapter 125. Remember the “Negative Confession,” in which the aspirant to the Egyptian afterlife swears to 42 gods that he or she is innocent of 38 different sins? Well, that is followed by an “Address to the Gods,” in which the recently deceased person tells the gods of the good things that he or she has done – “I have given bread to the hungry man, and water to the thirsty man, and apparel to the naked man” (p. 372). This passage immediately calls to mind the “Judgment of the Nations” passage from Chapter 25 of Saint Matthew’s Gospel – “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; Naked, and ye clothed me…” Christian theologians like to speculate about what are called “Jesus’ lost years” – the time between the finding of the lost child Jesus in the Temple (about age 12) and the beginning of Jesus’ ministry (approximately age 30). Could Jesus of Nazareth have traveled to Egypt during the “lost years”? Could Jesus as a young man have paid a visit to the Library of Alexandria, read the Book of the Dead there? Interesting to wonder about. There are, of course, major differences between the religion of pharaonic Egypt on the one hand and the major religions of the modern world on the other. In the Book of the Dead, there are many invocations like this invocation to the sun-god Ra in Chapter 133, from the Papyrus of Nu: “[W]hen the gods who dwell in the heavens see the Osiris Nu…triumphant, they ascribe unto him as his due praises which are like unto those ascribed unto Ra. The Osiris Nu…is a divine prince” (p. 401). Nu, for the record, was the scribe Hunefer, and the “Papyrus of Nu” is simply his personal copy of the Book of the Dead scrolls (as the Papyrus of Ani was Ani’s own copy), to be recited by his household on his behalf after his death. Nu's and Ani's papyri are simply among the most complete of the Book of the Dead scrolls, and therefore the most helpful for modern scholarship and understanding. Neither Ani nor Nu was a “divine” pharaoh. What, therefore, is the meaning of these references to “the Osiris Nu” as someone who is “divine,” who deserves the same sorts of praises that are offered to Ra? Recall that Osiris is the murdered-and-resurrected god who presides over the world of the dead. So, does Nu, or Ani, become Osiris? Does an ordinary human being become divine? In Judaism or Christianity or Islam, such ideas would be blasphemous. In pharaonic Egypt, perhaps they were par for the course. The Book of the Dead reveals much regarding pharaonic Egyptian society, including the culture’s class biases. Chapter 190 on “Making Perfect the Khu within Ra” includes an endnote to the effect that “This book is indeed a very great mystery; and thou shalt never allow those who dwell in the papyrus swamps of the Delta (i.e., ignorant folk) or any person whatsoever to see it” (p. 644). It would seem, therefore, that the joys of the Egyptian afterlife – e.g., riding across the sky every day in the chariot of Ra the sun god – are reserved for the wealthy. If you’re a scribe like Nu or Ani – someone wealthy and well-connected, with a good education and ties to the royal house – then you can afford your own copy of the Book of the Dead, and you can afford for your family to recite all these spells and make all these sacrifices on your behalf after you’re gone. But if you’re one of the “ignorant folk” living in the Delta papyrus swamps, it sounds as though you’re out of luck. I read The Egyptian Book of the Dead while traveling in Egypt. Taking a cruise boat down the Nile, seeing the tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, stopping at pharaonic temple complexes like Philae and Luxor, I imagined how often, at these sacred sites of the kingdom, the spells from this book were recited for the nobility of ancient Egypt – people like the king’s-lieutenant Yuya and his noble wife Thuya, whose amazingly well-preserved mummies are the center of an exhibit on the second floor of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Anyone who wants to gain an understanding of the religion, society, and culture of ancient Egypt should make a point of seeking out the Book of the Dead.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Another read for university.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Illiterate

    Dear Anonymous. Do the spells work for impure sinners? Yours, Illiterate. (Budge’s scholarship still impresses).

  21. 5 out of 5

    John

    This book presented thirty-seven plates of the Book of the Dead in beautiful glossy color images and hieroglyphics with the accompanying translated english text. The book had lots of notes regarding reading direction on the hieroglyphics and commentary that helped further aid the understanding of images and text on the plates. It included a general summary of the Egyptian religion and ideology. It had an associated dictionary to help keep the gods, cities and symbolism of both relevant to the re This book presented thirty-seven plates of the Book of the Dead in beautiful glossy color images and hieroglyphics with the accompanying translated english text. The book had lots of notes regarding reading direction on the hieroglyphics and commentary that helped further aid the understanding of images and text on the plates. It included a general summary of the Egyptian religion and ideology. It had an associated dictionary to help keep the gods, cities and symbolism of both relevant to the reader while reading the text. This was a excellent book and well worth getting if one is interested in Egyptian mythology. It had a few insights into how the Egyptians viewed the god of Moses, which it referred to as the most feared god of ancient Egypt.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Devlin Scott

    The first part of this book is a very interesting history lesson. It explains in part a brief history of the Egyptian Gods and their role in the afterlife. The second part of the book is a listing of the prayers and supplications for the afterlife. Imagine the journey into the afterlife as an oral test...this book has all the answers. You need only recite them to the proper god and move forward to the next...however...you must still have your heart weighed by Osiris at the end of your journey. It The first part of this book is a very interesting history lesson. It explains in part a brief history of the Egyptian Gods and their role in the afterlife. The second part of the book is a listing of the prayers and supplications for the afterlife. Imagine the journey into the afterlife as an oral test...this book has all the answers. You need only recite them to the proper god and move forward to the next...however...you must still have your heart weighed by Osiris at the end of your journey. It is a very interesting book and worth reading if you like ancient history. How faithful a translation this book is, I don't know. Devlin

  23. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Colesberry

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Once you catch onto the plot, the story is kind of fun and funny. Basically, when you die, you go through a series of obstacles to get to the afterworld. Humans are not allowed in. So you have to trick your way in by disguising yourself as Osiris. All these different snakes and whatnot see that you're Osiris so they let you by. The minor detail that hundreds if not thousands of people are trying to use the same trick to get by all these obstacles makes you wonder how stupid the guardians of the Once you catch onto the plot, the story is kind of fun and funny. Basically, when you die, you go through a series of obstacles to get to the afterworld. Humans are not allowed in. So you have to trick your way in by disguising yourself as Osiris. All these different snakes and whatnot see that you're Osiris so they let you by. The minor detail that hundreds if not thousands of people are trying to use the same trick to get by all these obstacles makes you wonder how stupid the guardians of the afterworld are? No one wonders, "Wait, didn't Osiris just go by five minutes ago?"

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lizy

    This book is a useless lie. It claims to be the book of the dead but it's just someone going on and on about what's inside of the book of the dead onstesd of actually being the book of the dead. It'd be like a book going "yes I am a Bible I am definitely a Bible this is a Bible" and when you open it instead of getting "In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth," you get "Genesis is about the creation of the Earth and the legacy of Abraham," and not actually using any Biblical quotes This book is a useless lie. It claims to be the book of the dead but it's just someone going on and on about what's inside of the book of the dead onstesd of actually being the book of the dead. It'd be like a book going "yes I am a Bible I am definitely a Bible this is a Bible" and when you open it instead of getting "In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth," you get "Genesis is about the creation of the Earth and the legacy of Abraham," and not actually using any Biblical quotes until like 80% of the way through the book. Don't waste your time.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    So I don't actually write reviews for books on this site, but I figure some explanation is needed here: it would seem exceptionally silly to give a star rating to something that some Egyptians wrote a few thousand years ago, or to pretend I'm some sort of expert who can judge this particular translation over later ones. So instead, simply take the "four star" rating as meaning I humbly found The Egyptian Book of the Dead an enjoyable and educational read as a lay person. So I don't actually write reviews for books on this site, but I figure some explanation is needed here: it would seem exceptionally silly to give a star rating to something that some Egyptians wrote a few thousand years ago, or to pretend I'm some sort of expert who can judge this particular translation over later ones. So instead, simply take the "four star" rating as meaning I humbly found The Egyptian Book of the Dead an enjoyable and educational read as a lay person.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    A beautiful reproduction of the Book of the Dead taken from tomb walls and papyri sources to give the reader the full script, in all it's colourful glory. The photographs are supported by Budge's text which explains each of the scenes in turn, including their importance to the Egyptian religion. A beautiful reproduction of the Book of the Dead taken from tomb walls and papyri sources to give the reader the full script, in all it's colourful glory. The photographs are supported by Budge's text which explains each of the scenes in turn, including their importance to the Egyptian religion.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    I spent a year of my life reading this book (yeah, you read that correctly). Do I regret it? No. Will I ever be able to leave the house without the words "Sun-disk" permeating my brain? Also no. I spent a year of my life reading this book (yeah, you read that correctly). Do I regret it? No. Will I ever be able to leave the house without the words "Sun-disk" permeating my brain? Also no.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gloria monaghan

    hard to red- my eyes are going. Text is also ancient and you need to follow like a math problem. Still I will devote my time.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    should be required reading, with footnotes and much Egyptian literary history. Beautiful book of death and life.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Hammer

    Not the actual book, but a short and useless commentary/summary of it.

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