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The Egyptian Book of the Dead

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Josie Linde
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« on: December 21, 2008, 09:59:33 pm »

4. ###.]

{p. xxvi}

of the god [Osiris] before his great throne. . . . The two beings who are over the throne of the great god proclaim Pepi to be sound and healthy, [therefore] Pepi shall sail in the boat to the beautiful field of the great god, and he shall do therein that which is done by those to whom veneration is due."[1] Here clearly we have a reference to the historical fact of the importation of a pigmy from the regions south of Nubia; and the idea which seems to have been uppermost in the mind of him that drafted the text was that as the pigmy pleased the king for whom he was brought in this world, even so might the dead Pepi please the god Osiris[2] in the next world. As the pigmy was brought by boat to the king, so might Pepi be brought by boat to the island wherein the god dwelt; as the conditions made by the king were fulfilled by him that brought the pigmy, even so might the conditions made by Osiris concerning the dead be fulfilled by him that transported Pepi to his presence. The wording of the passage amply justifies the assumption that this addition was made to the text after the mission of Assa, and during the VIth dynasty.[3]

Authorship of the Book of the Dead.

Like other works of a similar nature, however, the pyramid texts afford us no information as to their authorship. In the later versions of the Book of the Dead certain chapters[4] are stated to be the work of the god Thoth. They certainly belong to that class of literature which the Greeks called "Hermetic,"[5] and it is pretty certain that under some group they were included in the list of the forty-two works which, according to Clement of Alexandria,[6] constituted the sacred books of the Egyptians.[7] As Thoth, whom the Greeks called Hermes, is in Egyptian texts styled "lord of divine books,"[8] "scribe of the company of the gods,"[9] and "lord of divine speech,"[10] this ascription is well founded. The

[1. For the hieroglyphic text see Maspero, Recueil de Travaux, t. vii., pp. 162, 163; and t. xi., p. ii.

2 Pietschmann thinks (Aeg. Zeitschrift, Bd. XXXI., p. 73 f) that the Satyrs, who are referred to by Diodorus (i., XVIII) as the companions and associates of Osiris in Ethiopia, have their origin in the pigmies.

3. The whole question of the pigmy in the text of Pepi I. has been discussed by Maspero in Recueil de Travaux, t. xiv., p. 186 ff.

4. Chapp. 30B, 164, 37B and 148. Although these chapters were found at Hermopolis, the city of Thoth, it does not follow that they were drawn up there.

5. See Birch, in Bunsen, Egypt's Place in Universal History, vol. V., p. 125; Naville, Todtenbuch (Einleitung), p. 26.

6. Stromata, VI., 4, 35, ed. Dindorff, t. iii., p. 155.

7. On the sacred books of the Egyptians see also Iamblichus, De Mysteriis, ed. Parthey, Berlin 1857, pp. 260, 261; Lepsius, Chronologie, p. 45 ff.; and Brugsch, Aegyptologie, p. 149.

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{p. xxvii}

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