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The Egyptian Heaven and Hell: Volumes I, II & III (Forgotten Books) Paperback – January 12, 2008

3.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

About the Author:

"E.A. Wallis Budge was born in Bodmin, Cornwall to Mary Ann Budge, a young woman whose father was a waiter in a Bodmin hotel. Budge's father has never been identified. Budge left Cornwall as a young man, and eventually came to live with his grandmother and aunt in London.

Budge became interested in languages before he was ten years old, but given that he left school at the age of twelve in 1869 to work as a clerk at the firm of W.H. Smith, he studied Hebrew and Syriac in his spare time with the aid of a volunteer tutor named Charles Seeger. Budge became interested in learning the ancient Assyrian language in 1872, when he also began to spend time in the British Museum. Budge's tutor introduced him to the Keeper of Oriental Antiquities, the pioneer Egyptologist Samuel Birch, and Birch's assistant, the Assyriologist George Smith. Smith helped Budge occasionally with his Assyrian, whereas Birch allowed the young man to study cuneiformtablets in his office and obtained books of Middle Eastern travel and adventure such as Sir Austen Henry Layard's Nineveh and Its Remains for him to read from the British Library.

From 1869 to 1878 Budge spent whatever free time he had from his job at W.H. Smith studying Assyrian, and he often walked down to St. Paul's Cathedral over his lunch break to study during these years. When the organist of St. Paul's, John Stainer, noticed Budge's hard work, he decided to help the boy to realize his dream of working in a profession that would allow him to study Assyrian. Stainer contacted Budge's employer, the Conservative Member of Parliament W.H. Smith, as well as the former Liberal Prime Minister W.E. Gladstone, and asked them to help his young friend. Both Smith and Gladstone agreed to help Stainer to raise money for Budge to attend Cambridge University, where Budge later studied Semitic languages, including Hebrew, Syriac, Ethiopic and Arabic from 1878 to 1883, continuing to study Assyrian on his own. Budge worked closely during these years with the famous scholar of Semitic languages William Wright, among others." (Quote from en.wikipedia.org)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 428 pages
  • Publisher: Forgotten Books (January 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605064475
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605064475
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,631,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is one of the constantly reprinted books by Budge from the first decade of the 20th century. I am by no means an expert on the translation of Egyptian, but I know Budge's translations are very poorly regarded; they weren't even up to the highest standard of their time, let alone now. In fact, the entry on Egyptology in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt says that Egyptologists commit a "grave injustice" when they think that all 19th-century translators of the language were as bad as Budge.

This book translates the Amduat and the Book of Gates, the two major "netherworld books." They're New Kingdom funerary texts that describe the journey of the sun god through the underworld and thus, indirectly, the way the human soul is reborn like the rising sun in the afterlife. Budge precedes the two texts with an overview of Egyptian funerary texts (one that regards both the Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts as merely early versions of the Book of the Dead) and afterlife beliefs. He then translates the texts, presumably badly. The original texts are actually something like complex comic strips, with sections of text arranged within wall-filling images, so the translations are accompanied by illustrations excerpted from those larger images. Funerary texts are always cryptic and difficult to make sense of, and netherworld books are especially surreal. Budge isn't of much help in making sense of it all.

There are many alternatives to this book. Good basic overviews of funerary texts, including the two contained here, are
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
for those who are interested in one of the roots of Christianity, this is a must have volume. As it is mostly a translation, at times it can be hard to follow. One should have a grasp of ancient Egyptian beliefs and the ability to draw parallels. It doesn't follow the vein of Bauval or others who have a thesis to prove.

The interesting notion is the spells and charms (early Christianity and ancient Judaism also had them), the theses is on the journey into the underworld to either heaven or there version of hell. If you area student of Egyptology, this is a must have ready reference.

I must warn you, its not an easy read nor there concepts of the afterlife easily spelled out.
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Format: Paperback
It's no wonder why so few folks comment on these old books. This edition was first resurrected by Dover Publications in the 1970's. The original work from 1906 is now revived again but WOE TO ANYONE USING IT FOR SERIOUS SCHOLARLY STUDY. Unfortunately, like all of Budge's Egyptological works, this falls into the familiar category of ANTIQUATED. Though not listed in the description, this work was compiled to illustrate sections of the tomb of Seti I, his sarcophagus, Amenhotep III's tomb & selected papyri fragments, mainly that of Ani, Nebsenni & Anhai. Though out of date in many respects, containing often mistranslated texts, obviously incorrect transliterations & vulgarized Arabic, it is an interesting look back as to what scholars knew over 100 years ago. Budge does recognize there are "currently" unsolvable conundrums & gives credit to the Egyptologists of the day, such as Maspero & others, while putting together the best work of the times on the Egyptian afterlife. When these volumes were written only 42 tombs in the Valley of the Kings were known (the count is now at 64).

Via the tombs & other sources, Budge meant to describe the three main conceptions of the ancient Egyptian afterlife: The "Am Duat" or "What is in the Underworld," the Book of Gates & the Book of the Dead. The first two volumes cover the actual tomb descriptions & Seti's sarcophagus (where the almost complete "Book of Gates" was inscribed) while, 300 pages later, his analysis actually starts. Though the old black & white drawings don't compare to recent color photography, they do display most of the pertinent sections but, sadly, divorce them from other important aspects of the tombs.
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Format: Paperback
In my opinion, this was a very good book. The author knew what they were talking about. They made it clear to me about the beliefs of heaven and hell in ancient egypt. It was a good translation of the hieroglyphs and I would recomend it to anyone.
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