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The Egyptian Book of the Dead

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Author Topic: The Egyptian Book of the Dead  (Read 8696 times)
Josie Linde
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« on: December 21, 2008, 09:56:19 pm »

6. the Ou?safaï's ui!o's of Manetho.

7 Aeg. Zeitschrift, 1866, p. 54.

8. See Guieyesse, Rituel Funéraire Égyptien, chapitre 64e, Paris, 1876, p. 10, note 2.

9. The late recension of the Book of the Dead published by Lepsius also gives the king's name as Men-kau-Ra (Todtenbuch, Bl. 25, l. 30. In the same recension the CXXXth Chapter is ascribed to the reign of Hesep-ti (131. 53, l. 28).

10. Naville, Todtenbuch (Einleitung), pp. 33, 139]

{p. xiv}

remote period. To quote the words of Chabas, the chapter was regarded as being "very ancient, very mysterious, and very difficult to understand" already fourteen centuries before our era.[1]

Antiquity of Chapter LXIV.

The rubric on the coffin of Queen Menthu-hetep, which ascribes the chapter to Hesep-ti, states that "this chapter was found in the foundations beneath the hennu boat by the foreman of the builders in the time of the king of the North and South, Hesep-ti, triumphant";[2] the Nebseni papyrus says that this chapter was found in the city of Khemennu (Hermopolis) on a block of ironstone (?) written in letters of lapis-lazuli, under the feet of the god";[3] and the Turin papyrus (XXVIth dynasty or later) adds that the name of the finder was Heru-ta-ta-f, the son of Khufu or Cheops,[4] the second king of the IVth dynasty, about B.C. 3733, who was at the time making a tour of inspection of the temples. Birch[5] and Naville[6] consider the chapter one of

[1. Chabas, Voyage d'un Égyptien, p. 46. According to M. Naville (Einleitung, p. 138), who follows Chabas's opinion, this chapter is an abridgement of the whole Book of the Dead; and it had, even though it contained not all the religious doctrine of the Egyptians, a value which was equivalent to the whole.

2. See Goodwin, Aeg. Zeitschrift, 1866, p. 55, and compare the reading from the Cairo papyrus of Mes-em-neter given by Naville (Todtenbuch, ii-, p. 139)

3 Naville, Todtenbuch, Bd. I., B1. 76, L 52.

4 Lepsius, Todtenbuch, Bl. 25, 1. 31.

6 "The most remarkable chapter is the 64th . . . . . It is one of the oldest of all, and is attributed, as already stated, to the epoch of king Gaga-Makheru or Menkheres . . . . . This chapter enjoyed a high reputation till a late period, for it is found on a stone presented to General Perofski by the late Emperor Nicholas, which must have come from the tomb of Petemenophis,
  • in the El-Assasif
  • and was made during the XXVIth dynasty Some more recent compiler of the Hermetic books has evidently paraphrased it for the Ritual of Turin." Bunsen, Egypt's Place in Universal History, London, 1867, p. 1142. The block of stone to which Dr. Birch refers is described by Golénischeff, Inventaire de la Ermitage Impérial, Collection Égyptienne, No. 1101, pp. 169, 170. M. Maspero thinks it was meant to be a "prétendu fac-similé" of the original slab, which, according to the rubric, was found in the temple of Thoth, Revue de l'Histoire des Religions, t. XV., p. 299, and Études de Mythologie, t i., p. 368.

6 Todtenbuch (Einleitung), p. 139. Mr. Renouf also holds this opinion, Trans. See. Bibl. Arch., 1803, p. 6.

* I.e., the "chief reader." Many of the inscriptions on whose tomb have been published by Dümichen, Der Grabpalast des Patuamenap; Leipzig, 1884, 1885.

+ I.e., Asasîf el-bahrîyeh, or Asasif of the north, behind Dêr el-baharî, on the western bank of the Nile, opposite Thebes.]

{p. xv}

the oldest in the Book of the Dead; the former basing his opinion on the rubric' and the latter upon the evidence derived from the contents and character of the text; but Maspero, while admitting the great age of the chapter, does not attach any very great importance to the rubric as fixing any exact date for its composition.[1] Of Herutataf the finder of the block of stone, we know from later texts that he was considered to be a learned man, and that his speech was only with difficulty to be understood,[2] and we also know the prominent part which he took as a recognized man of letters in bringing to the court of his father Khufu the sage Tetteta.[3] It is then not improbable that Herutataf's character for learning may have suggested the connection of his name with the chapter, and possibly as its literary reviser; at all events as early as the period of the Middle Empire tradition associated him with it.

[1. "On explique d'ordinaire cette indication comme une marque d'antiquité extrême; on part de ce principe que le Livre des Morts est de composition relativement moderne, et qu'un scribe égyptien, nommant un roi des premières dynasties memphites, ne pouvait entendre par là qu'un personnage d'époque très reculée. Cette explication ne me paraît pas être exacte. En premier lieu, le chapitre LXIV. se trouve déjà sur des monuments contemporains de la Xe et de la XIe dynastie, et n'était certainement pas nouveau au moment où on écrivait les copies les plus vieilles que nous en ayons aujourd'hui. Lorsqu'on le rédigea sous sa forme actuelle, le règne de Mykérinos, et même celui d'Housapaiti, ne devaient pas soulever dans l'esprit des indigènes la sensation de l'archaïsme et du primitif: on avait pour rendre ces idées des expressions plus fortes, qui renvoyaient le lecteur au siècles des Serviteurs d'Horus, à la domination de Ra, aux âges où les dieux régnaient sur l'Égypte." Revue de l'Histoire des Religions, t. xv., p. 299.

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