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Book of the Dead
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never knew the book of the dead could apply to the living, i thought that was just some 'new age' interpretation, no offence, and that the Egyptians used it purely for funerary ceremonies.

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The statements in the Negative Confessions which were said by the deceased before the weighing of the heart implied a set of moral rules for daily life. The "I did not...." in those statements could easily be exchanged by "Thou shallt not....". The hope for a succesfull afterlife was based upon an morally examplerary existence.


That's why some people claim Moses stole his commandments from the Egyptians (who originally had 42 but Moses whittled it down to 10). Not sure if that's true, but 42 confessions is a lot to stick to, I'm sure I may have broken one or two of them... Laughing
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not thing the Book of the Dead was ever used by the living, per se. It was purely a "guide book" for the Ba of the deceased, to help him navigate the dangerous challenges and tests that were cast to determine if he were worthy of an afterlife.

We have to remember the Book of the Dead (known by the Egyptians as The Spells of Going forth by Day) was not something they just dreamed up one day. It originated probably very late in the Second Intermediate Period but contains spells that far predate it. They go all the way back to the ancient Pyramid Texts first inscribed in the chambers of the pyramid of the 5th Dynasty pharaoh Unis, though most likely even these spells far predate what we find in later pyramids (they just happen to have been put in written form there first).

The Negative Confession was the ultimate and final test for the Ba. It was while the Ba recited it to the 42 Assessors of Osiris, that his (I'll use "his" or "he" to cut down on all the "its"!) heart was weighed on the scale. As long as his words were true (maa kheru) during this recitation, the heart would of course balance against the feather of truth (maat). The Ba would win his eternal afterlife.

The theory about the Judaic 10 Commandments and the Egyptian Negative Confession is an old one. Probably there is no connection. For the most part these "rules of life" are pretty generic and can be found in the laws or morals of numerous ancient civilization. People love to dream this stuff up, and though most such theories are outright nonsense, this one is quite interesting. We can't dismiss it so easily, but there's probably no connection.
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Djehtinefer
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Book of the Dead


The Book of the Dead is the modern name for ancient Egyptian manuscripts containing compositions drawn from a repertoire of about 190 individual 'chapters' or ‘spells’. The ancient Egyptian name for the Book of the Dead, is per em hru, which have been variously translated as meaning, "coming forth from the day", or " coming forth by day". (Budge, 1895, Preface)


The Book of the Dead is a group of funerary chapters, which began to appear in ancient Egypt around 1600 BC. In the Pyramid Texts from the 5th and 6th Dynasties, these Pyramid Texts were carved inside pyramid walls of the Old Kingdom in Egypt.


Some of the oldest chapters of the Book of the Dead can be traced back to utterances from the Pyramid Texts; for example §257-68, Utterance 247, ‘The officiant addresses the king’ (Faulkner, 1998, p.59), its development can be traced in the Coffin Texts as Spell 349, ‘Not letting a man’s magic be taken from him in the realm of the dead’ (Faulkner, 1994 Vol I, p.282-3) and finally in the Book of the Dead in Spell 174, ‘Spell for letting a spirit go out from the great gate in the sky’ (Faulkner, 1985, p.173).


In the Middle Kingdom more Spells were added and the texts were written in hieratic, not in hieroglyphics, within the wooden coffins and are known as Coffin Texts. The Book of the Dead derives in large part from the Middle Kingdom (about 2025-1700 BC) Coffin Texts.


Eventually in the New Kingdom Spells were written on sheets of papyrus covered with magical texts and accompanying illustrations called vignettes. In the Old Kingdom of Egypt, only in certain cases and for special emphasis did Spells include a vignette, but by the Ramesside Period, the reverse is true and only a few Spells are un-illustrated. In Dynasty 21 and in the Late Period, vignettes were often used for the Spells, without the texts. But in many manuscripts the vignettes constitute a row of pictures, with texts placed beneath them. (Hornung, 1999, p.14)


By the 26th Dynasty the sequence of chapters was standardised into a series of over 150 'chapters', most with their own vignette. Individual chapters occur on other funerary equipment, such as the shabti, headrest, amulets, heart scarab, and also on the coffins, sarcophagi and walls of burial chambers and offering chapels (Forman/Quirke 1996, p.183).


The texts are divided into individual Spells or chapters, around two hundred in total, though no one papyrus contains them all. Specific chapters could be selected out of the total repertoire. If the prospective owner of a Book was wealthy and his death not untimely, he might commission a scribe to write the text for him, based upon his personal choice of Spells. Other less wealthy clients had to make do with a ready-made text template.
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cleopatra_selene
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ive heard that the book of the dead was usually placed in a coffin or rolled up in a statuette of Sokar-Osiris...
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Books of the Dead were often placed within the coffin. As for the other mode you mentioned, a statuette of Osiris (a.k.a., Sokar-Osiris, Ptah-Sokar-Oisiris) was made to stand atop a hollow plinth with a hidden drawer, and a Book of the Dead might be rolled up and placed inside there. I believe this was more of a Late Period practice.
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Daughter_Of_SETI
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:
As for the other mode you mentioned, a statuette of Osiris (a.k.a., Sokar-Osiris, Ptah-Sokar-Oisiris) was made to stand atop a hollow plinth with a hidden drawer, and a Book of the Dead might be rolled up and placed inside there. I believe this was more of a Late Period practice.


Like the following wooden figure of Ptah-Sokar-Osiris facing a hawk. It also probably used to contain spells from the Book of the Dead in the bottom. It dates from 525-332 BC (from the Manchester Museum).

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It dates from 525-332 BC (from the Manchester Museum).


I didn't know the Manchester Museum was around that far back.

Ha ha, I made a funny. I know, I'm a smart***. Laughing

That's a beautiful example of exactly what I was talking about, Daughter_Of_SETI. Be honest, though. That's not at the Manchester--it's on your shelf at home and you use it to store your makeup.

We have two of those on display at the Field, but they're not as well-preserved as the one in your photo. I don't know that I've ever photographed them so I don't think I can post a picture of my own. However, one of the two shows clear evidence of something having been snapped off the front end and I've never been sure what might have once been there...till now. It must've been a little hawk.

Thanks to your photo, I can now point that out to our visitors. Wink
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Daughter_Of_SETI
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:
Ha ha, I made a funny. I know, I'm a smart***.

Yeah, you said it! Razz

kmt_sesh wrote:
Be honest, though. That's not at the Manchester--it's on your shelf at home and you use it to store your makeup.

You're very close...I actually store pens in it; not makeup. Laughing
I wish I had that piece on my shelf at home, though, it's really beautiful. Very Happy

kmt_sesh wrote:
Thanks to your photo, I can now point that out to our visitors.

You're welcome. Would others been depicted opposite a hawk? It could be that the one at the Field was something else. Idea Would a hawk have been used to represent Horus?? I'd never seen one of those wooden Book of the Dead holders before until I saw that one in Manchester, so I don't know if Ptah-Sokar-Osiris was regularly shown with a hawk. Confused
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It could be a fairly common motif with the Osiris-and-plinth statuette. The hawk could well represent his son, Horus, in a kind of family scene, or on others the little bird might instead be the figure of the tomb owner's ba-bird facing Osiris. In your photo from the Manchester, the crown tells us it's either Horus or Sokar. Our other Osiris-and-plinth statuette at the Field clearly had no such little bird at the front, so obviously it wasn't a universal motif.
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Daughter_Of_SETI
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've found another wooden figure that's very similar to that figure, but on the British Museum website. Here! They have it listed as "This figure of Ptah-Sokar-Osiris stands opposite the god Sokar in his hawk form, perched on top of a miniature coffin." So, it would seem that the folks at the BM think it's Sokar as a hawk. While I was searching for it, I came across a few of the wooden figures both with the hawk opposite Ptah-Sokar-Osiris and without. I didn't see any with a ba bird, so it seems likely that the one at the Field once had Sokar in the form of a hawk on the other end of the plinth. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isis in a Crisis wrote:

Quote:
I never knew the book of the dead could apply to the living, i thought that was just some 'new age' interpretation, no offence, and that the Egyptians used it purely for funerary ceremonies.



At least some scholars, including Jan Assmann, think that the so-called "Negative Confession" was part of a priest's vows upon initiation. It's interesting to note that some variation of these was carved onto the doorways of the inner parts of the great state temples, perhaps as a sort of 'pre-flight check list' for the lower ranks of priests coming back to the temple for their term of service.
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
While I was searching for it, I came across a few of the wooden figures both with the hawk opposite Ptah-Sokar-Osiris and without. I didn't see any with a ba bird, so it seems likely that the one at the Field once had Sokar in the form of a hawk on the other end of the plinth.


The ba-bird was just a guess on my part. There is a little statue of one next to one of our Osiris-and-plinth statuettes, and that's what got me thinking. I'm glad you clarified that for me. I'm sure you're right that the artifact at the Field once contained a Sokar figure, and thanks again for pointing that out.

Now that I'm home, I took a moment to review some of my photos and did indeed find an image I'd shot of one of the Field's Osiris-and-plinth statuettes:



Obviously this is the one that never had a Sokar figure at the front. Both of the Osiris-and-plinth artifacts we have on display date to the Late Period, about Dynasty 26. The photo here is small here but I've examined this artifact many times and have explained its function to countless parents and kids, and there's no sign anything was ever at the front. Pity I don't have a photo of the other, but if I remember to do it I'll take a picture this weekend.

Thanks for your work, Daughter_Of_SETI. Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a postscript, I was just looking through some of my books in my search of more information on the elusive sekh or sekhem in another forum discussion, and in one of my books on mummies I came across a photo of several Osiris-and-plinth statuettes. The periods or dates are not given for any of them, but one is shown with the little Sokar hawk at front (on its own fancy little platform), another has a miniature sarcophagus carved on the front, and a third is paired with a small ba-bird statuette, though the ba-bird is not on the plinth. In any case I'm glad I wasn't imagining things and that I had indeed seen this ba-bird combination somewhere. Further, the photo shows that a number of different objects or figures might be paired with Osiris on his plinth.

Click here for yet another Osiris-and-plinth. This one comes from the Iraq Museum International. The caption states that the little hawk here is Horus, and note that he is perched atop a small sarcophagus. Perhaps the identification of Horus is mistaken (and is actually Sokar), but the pairing of Osiris and Horus in an afterlife motif still makes a lot of sense.

Smile
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Daughter_Of_SETI
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:
Now that I'm home, I took a moment to review some of my photos and did indeed find an image I'd shot of one of the Field's Osiris-and-plinth statuettes...

Your picture isn't working at my end. Crying or Very sad Just getting a crossed box.

kmt_sesh wrote:
Thanks for your work, Daughter_Of_SETI.

You're welcome. Very Happy

kmt_sesh wrote:
...and a third is paired with a small ba-bird statuette, though the ba-bird is not on the plinth. In any case I'm glad I wasn't imagining things and that I had indeed seen this ba-bird combination somewhere.

Very Happy I didn't doubt you at all. Wink Maybe the ba-bird opposite Ptah-Sokar-Osiris was just a more rare depiction. Although, I must admit, it is quite difficult to find any of thoes wooden figures over the internet seeing as Sokar and Osiris have a few variants in their spellings. Rolling Eyes

That looks like quite a well preserved example that you found from the Iraq Museum too. As you say, though, it does make sense either way; whether it's Horus or Sokar as the hawk. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry about that, SETI's Offspring. My photo from last night doesn't seem to be working in Internet Explorer for some reason. I don't often use Explorer but I know lots of PC people do. I'll have to look into it when I get home, not that it's vital everyone sees it. It just bugs me. Confused
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