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THE BOOK OF THE DEAD.
The collection of chapters, or distinct compositions, which the ancient Egyptians inscribed upon pyramids, walls of tombs, sarcophagi, coffins and papyri, amulets and other objects which were buried in the tombs with the dead was called “Rituel Fundraire” by Champollion, and this misleading name was adopted by De Rougé, who, in his Etudes sur 1e Rituel Fundraire des Anciens Egypsiens,” brought forward reasons for so doing, and considered that all he had said “justifie suffisamment, suivant nous, le titre choisi par Champollion.” Champollion's grammar shows that he had studied every part of the so-called Ritual, and the many short passages which he translated prove that he recognized the nature of its contents, and rightly appreciated its great value from a religious point of view ; it is quite clear, however, that he never completely analysed a single chapter of it, and that he never translated any passage from it of considerable length. Had this remarkable man lived to examine the work further he would have seen that it was not a “Ritual.”” This collection of chapters was entitled “Todtenbuch" by Lepsius, in 1842, and by the name “BOOK OF THE DEAD" it is now most generally known.
The earliest publications of parts or whole copies of the Book of the Dead were made by Cadet (J. Marc), Copie figurée d'un rouleau de Papyrus, trouvé à Théðes, dans un tombeau des Rois, Strassburg, 1805; Fontana, Copie figurce d'un rouleau de papyrus trouvé en Egypte, publiée par Fontana et expliquée par Joseph de Hammer, Vienna, 1822 ; Sen
Early printed copies of the Book of the Dead.
1 In A'evue Archéologique, N.S., tom. i. 1860, pp. 69-100, 234-249, 337-365.
* Dieser Codex ist kein Rituallyuch, wofur es Champollion's Bezeichnung “Rituel Funèraire” zu erklären scheint; es enthalt keine Vorschriften für den Todtenkultus, keine Hymnen oder Gebete, welche von den Priestern etwa bei der Beerdigung gesprochen worden wären : sondern der Verstorbene ist selbst die handelnde Person darin, und der Text betrift nur ibn und seine Begegnisse auf der langen Wanderung nach dem irdischen Tode. Es wird entweder erzahlt und beschrieben, wohin er kommt, was er thut, was er hört und sieht, oder es sind die Gebete un Anreden, die er selbst zu den verschiedenen Göttern, zu welchen er gelangt, spricht. Lepsius, Vorwort (Todtenbuch), p. 3.
kowski, Eremplum Papyri Aegyptiacae quam in peregrinatione sua repertam Universitati Cracoviensi dono dedit, Petropoli, 1826; Young, Hieroglyphics, London, 1823, fol., plates I–VI.; Hawkins, Papyri in the Hieroglyphic and Hieratic character from the Collection of the Earl of Belmore, London, 1843, fol., plates 1–8.; and Rosellini, Brewe notizia intorno un frammento di Papiro funebre egizio essistente mel ducale museo di Parma, Parma, 1839, 8vo; Description de l'Egypte, ed. Jomard, Antiquités, tom. ii. The most important publication, however, was that of Lepsius in 1842, who under the title of Das Todtenbuch der Aegypter, reproduced the complete text of a papyrus at Turin, which contained 165 chapters. The custom of inscribing chapters of Books of the Dead upon the walls of the sarcophagus chambers of tombs is as old as the Vth dynasty, but at that epoch large, well-spaced hieroglyphics, arranged between lines, occupy the walls conjointly with architectural decorations; * towards the VIth dynasty the space allotted for decorative purposes becomes narrower, the hieroglyphics are smaller, and the inscriptions overflow into the passages and chambers, the walls of which, in earlier times, were left blank. The pyramids of the Vth and VIth dynasties which have inscriptions on their inner walls are those of Unás, Tetá, Pepi I., Pepi II., and Seker-em-sa-f; this set of inscriptions is usually called the “Pyramid Texts,” and they have been published with a French translation by Maspero in Recueil de Travau.r: Unás, tom. iii., pp. 177–224, and tom. iv., pp. 41–78; Tetà, tom. v., pp. 1–60; Pepi I., tom. v., pp. 157–199, tom. vii., pp. 145–176, tom. viii., pp. 87–I 19 ; Pepi II., tom. ix., pp. 177-190, tom. x., pp. I-28, tom. xi, pp. 1–30, tom. xii., pp. 53-95, 136–195. During the XIth dynasty the custom of writing chapters of the Books of the Dead upon wooden coffins or sarcophagi became common; examples of the texts of this period, written upon coffins in the hieratic character, have been
* This book was published at the expense of the Academy of St. Petersburg, and never came into the market.
* Maspero, La Religion Egyptienne, a 'après les Pyramides de la Po et de la V/* Dynastie (in A'evue de l’Histoire des Aeligions, Paris, 1885, p. 124).
Lepsius publishes the Turin Papyrus.
The Pyra. mid Texts.
Texts inscribed upon coffins.
published by Lepsius' and Birch.” At this period Books
money which they could afford to spend upon a copy of the Book of the Dead on the artists' work for pictures, while they left the execution of the text to an inferior scribe. Although many of the faulty readings which occur in the Book of the Dead are to be attributed to the carelessness of the scribe, it is quite certain that a very large number were the result of his ignorance, and that, at times, he did not know which was the beginning or end of the text which he was about to copy. In proof of this M. Naville" has reproduced from a papyrus the 77th chapter copied from the wrong end, and on the opposite page he gives the restored text in the right order. An examination of papyri shows that frequently more than one artist and scribe were employed in making a single copy of the Book of the Dead ; but it is also evident that in some instances both the vignettes and the text were the work of One nuan.
According to M. Naville the Book of the Dead is known to us in four recensions:—
1. That of the Old and Middle Empires, which is usually
2. The Theban recension, which was much used from
3. The redaction closely resembling that of Thebes
4. A text of the Saite and Ptolemaîc periods written
The texts of the earliest recension are, for the most part, written in hieroglyphics upon tombs and sarcophagi, but texts written upon papyrus in hieroglyphic and hieratic characters took their place, probably because they cost less money, and
* In his Einleitung, pp. 42, 43.
The recensions of the Book of the Dead.
because the relatives of the deceased could make them as long or as short as they pleased. It is probable that Books of the Dead were not written in hieratic during the XVIIIth dynasty. In September, 1874, at a special meeting of the second International Congress of Orientalists, a resolution was passed to the effect that for the furtherance of Egyptian studies an edition of the Book of the Dead, or the “Bible of the Old Egyptians,” as critical and complete as possible, should be steadily kept in view. It was further resolved that such an edition should contain the text of the Book of the Dead in three forms:–1. Under the Old Empire; 2. Under the Theban dynasties of the New Empire; 3. Under the Psammetici (XXVIth dynasty)." A Committee was formed which was composed of Messrs. Birch, Lepsius, Chabas and Naville, and M. Naville undertook the labour of this work. At the instance of Lepsius the Berlin Academy voted a sum of 3,000 marks for preliminary expenses, and the Prussian Government voted 4,800 thalers for its publication. When M. Naville began to collect materials for his edition, he found that the texts of the Old Empire were so few while those of the XXVIth dynasty were so many, and had so few actual variants in them, that he abandoned the idea of making an edition of the texts of the first and third recensions, and at the Fourth International Congress of Orientalists held at Florence, in September, 1878, he asked the Committee to allow him to alter the original plan, and he stated his intention of confining himself to collecting caresully all the necessary texts for a critical edition of the Theban recension of the Book of the Dead. He believed that in order to obtain a correct text of this recension, accurate copies of carefully written papyri must be published, from which, by comparison, the text may be emended. In 1886 M. Naville gave to the world the two volumes which contained the results of his twelve years' labour, under the title of Das Aegyptische Todtenbuch der X VIII. bis XX. Dynastie, Berlin,” fol. The first
A complete edition of the Book of the Dead contemplated.
M. Naville undertakes to make
Change of plan.
* Transactions of the Second Session of the International Congress of Orientalists, held in London, in September, 1874, London, 1876, p. 442.
* Lepsius unfortunately died before the work was issued. Egyptologists are indebted to Dr. Dillmann of Berlin for the issue of this valuable work.