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Book of the Dead: Becoming God in Ancient Egypt (Oriental Institute Museum Publications) Illustrated Edition
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- Item Weight : 1.21 pounds
- Paperback : 376 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1614910383
- ISBN-13 : 978-1614910381
- Dimensions : 9 x 0.8 x 11.5 inches
- Publisher : Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago; Illustrated edition (October 13, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,651,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The exhibit itself, featuring two complete BoD papyrus scrolls as well as linen mummy wrappings with penned spells, amulets, magical bricks and many other objects related to the safekeeping of the deceased in the afterlife, is drawn almost exclusively from the University of Chicago collections. The high quality photography and object descriptions in the catalog will provide an enduring guide to museum objects after the show’s close next year.
The articles explain the history of BoD spells from ancient oral traditions, through pyramid texts, coffin texts, and papyrus scrolls. Originating as diverse spells, the “books of the dead” eventually contained more systematic sequences of spells, although no two yet found are alike. The scholarly articles, illustrated with images from collections world-wide, pull together information on the purpose of these spells, how knowledge of spells was transmitted through scribal workshops over thousands of years, and how funerary writings evolved into the Greek (Ptolemaic) and Roman periods.
Neither book contains a full translation of the text; for that the best option is the Chronicle edition of the Papyrus of Ani . Instead, Journey through the Afterlife and Becoming God discuss how the Book of the Dead evolved out of earlier funerary texts, how copies were produced and organized, the role of heka (magic) in the book, the rituals surrounding death, the demon-filled otherworldly landscape the book describes, and the modern rediscovery and study of the text. Something unique to Becoming God is the essay on "(Mis)appropriations of the Book of the Dead", describing how the book, or at least the idea of it, influenced religious movements and pop culture beginning in the late 19th century. On most subjects, particularly the evolution and study of the funerary text, Becoming God is more detailed, although the text may not be quite as accessible to the lay reader. Journey through the Afterlife does spend more time on funerary rituals and afterlife beliefs—that is, more general subjects that are covered in other sources—than Becoming God does. If you want to seriously study the Book of the Dead, I recommend getting both. But if you only want one book analyzing the Book of the Dead, this is the one to get.