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Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt Paperback – 30 May 2001

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Paperback, 30 May 2001
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 2nd edition (30 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226791645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226791647
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 1.8 x 24.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 475,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

John H. Taylor is an assistant keeper in the Department of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Musuem. He is the author of "Egyptian Coffins, Unwrapping a Mummy," and "Egypt and Nubia."

Inside This Book

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The civilisation of the ancient Egyptians has fascinated the outside world for more than two thousand years. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 May 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is good for students of egyptology, as well as those who just have a passing interest, as it is in depth, yet easily readable. Provides a concise account of the development of coffins, shabtis, mummification and tombs with appropriate illustrations. I would definately recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well written and with excellent illustrations, this book gives a comprehensive insight into the Ancient Egyptians' attitude to death and how they spent a great deal of time, energy and money on preparing for the next world. Recommended for anyone with an interest in ancient Egypt or in ancient religions.
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By April on 9 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great buy
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Interested in Ancient Egyptians views of death? 6 Jun. 2001
By D. Scull - Published on
Format: Paperback
Originally commissioned for a collection of funerary material in the British Museum, Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt covers in some detail the Ancient Egyptian mythology and practices of death and the afterlife. The work has numerous pictures of mummies, pyramids, texts and statues that add to the ideas discussed. The book is not meant to be an exhaustive resource on each of the eight topics it discusses, but offers a lot of information for the novice to intermediate Egyptologist. Chapters:
1) Death and Resurrection in Ancient Egyptian Society 2) The Eternal Body: Mummification 3) Provisioning the Dead 4) Funerary Figurines: Servants for the Afterlife 5) The Threshold of Eternity: Tombs, Cemeteries and Morturary Cults 6) Magic and Ritual for the Dead (My favorite chapter!) 7) The Chest of Life: Coffins and Sarcophagi 8) The Burial and Mummification of Animals
Excellent book for one interested in any of the above topics, great information, great pictures and easy to read, but still scholarly in the amount and quality of the information presented.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
You'll be pleasantly surprised by the Egyptian concept of death. 22 Jan. 2014
By Jesse Baker - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Taylor brings a succinct account of modern understandings of how death looked to the Egyptians. In short, Egypt had no god of death parallel to that seen many other cultures. Instead, a committee of gods, the same ones who handled affairs with the living, also handled death. The Egyptians were pretty smart regarding expectations to be placed about the end of life--there's an afterlife, but no guarantees about what will happen there.

Although mummification gets a detailed treatment, Taylor goes beyond the mummy madness to take a hard look at the Egyptian funeral. I like this, because it turns out the goal of funerary was much different than what naive readers guess first. One sees it was not that the dead would talk to the living, as in modern seances, but that they would, for example, inhabit a block statue and continue to witness affairs on our planet while continuing to receive offerings of food and water from the living.

Egyptian cults for the prominent deceased can justifiably be considered too wasteful for uncritical ethical acceptance by modern spectators. Although key here is hindsight--Egyptian policy could also be described as relatively progressive for its era on issues such as women's rights--too many authors are too quick to explain off the harsh sides of the cultures they study. I like that Taylor avoids doing so here, taking instead a carefully neutral perspective grounded in known facts.

Coverage focuses mainly on New Kingdom practice, especially as documented in the British Museum collections.

Paper and printing are excellent, as is selection of art, although the small page size doesn't display it well. A good value at $20-$25, and corrects a scarcity of brief, illustrated modern treatments of this subject.
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