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Traversing Eternity: Texts for the Afterlife from Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt Hardcover – April 15, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0198154648 ISBN-10: 019815464X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (April 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019815464X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198154648
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.8 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,046,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author


Mark Smith is Professor of Egyptology, Oxford University, and Lady Wallis Budge Fellow in Egyptology, University College, Oxford.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DAJ on March 16, 2015
Format: Hardcover
The Demotic version of the Egyptian language is tough to read. Really, really tough. Funerary texts, even in translation, can be almost incomprehensibly cryptic. So when a variety of short funerary texts are written in Demotic, often in abbreviated versions or jumbled up together, they must be a scholar's nightmare. Despite their daunting nature, Smith collects and translates 60 texts written in the Greco-Roman period (mainly from 300 BC to 150 AD), many of which are in Demotic. As Smith says, it's not a complete collection of Greco-Roman funerary texts, but it's a wide and representative sample, and it includes the two best-known, the Books of Breathing and Book of Traversing Eternity. Some texts are pretty traditional, while others have very strange contents. They vary greatly in length, though many of them are very short and none are as long as the "classical" collections of spells like the Book of the Dead. (Incidentally, the Book of the Dead was still being used, though less and less frequently, when these texts were written.)

Each text comes with an introduction describing the date, purpose, and themes of the text. The general introduction discusses the afterlife beliefs and burial practices of the era, as well as the trends in the use of funerary texts. As usual in academic writing, Smith sometimes argues for an interpretation that many of his colleagues would not agree with (most notably, he says the dead were merely thought to join Osiris' following rather than unite with him), but most of those disagreements are very minor and won't bother most readers. Scholars seem to agree that this is the best collection of funerary texts from the last few centuries of Egyptian religion, and it's easy to understand why.
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Traversing Eternity: Texts for the Afterlife from Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt
This item: Traversing Eternity: Texts for the Afterlife from Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt
Price: $280.00
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