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The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day Hardcover – 21 Aug 2009


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  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (21 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981773605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981773605
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 24.1 x 35.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,065,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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He says: Hail to you, you having come as Khepri, even Khepri who is the creator of the gods. Read the first page
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120 of 134 people found the following review helpful By everest1299@yahoo.com on 11 July 2000
Format: Paperback
Ive read quite a lot of books relating to the egyptian book of the dead, and have even read the occasional translation.But "nothing" compares to this copy of Dr raymond Faulkner's translation of the book of "ANI". Anyone interested, obsessed ar simply wanting to learn more about this "Mother of civilisation", should go online now to amazon and buy a copy.For shear beauty of script, and visual splendor, this book is Candy for the mind. If you dont buy it, dont say i didnt warn you. (everest)
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By ScoobyDoo1989 on 11 Jan 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book after having read Normandi Ellis's Awakening Osiris - which are poetic interpretations of the translations of Chapters from the Egyptian Book of The Dead. I wanted to compare Ellis's intepretations with what are considered to be the best known translations of the same Chapters by R O Faulkner (now deceased), contributor of the translations in this book. The book was brought together beautifully by James Wasserman and Dr Ogden Goelet, with a preface by Carol Andrews. It took many years in the making and is obviously a labour of love. What I don't understand is if James Wasserman had the original idea for the book, and worked for years bringing that together into the volume, why hasn't he credited himself as an author? I don't know the man - but reading his Forward to the book shows that he was instrumental in it's creation.

The papyri are presented along the top of the page, with the translation below. In this way one can should be able see how the translator has interpreted the heiroglyphics from the original language. This is as far as I know the first time such a comparison has been made available and the first time that the papyri are collated correctly, in the right order, without being cut up into bits. This makes it possible to read them in the way they were meant to be read without pieces being transposed or missing.

The book is in quite a large format, but then it needs to be to allow for the foldouts of some of the papyri. A stunning volume. Highly recommended for scholars or for anyone who has an interest in the ancient Egyptian language, art and culture. There are some provisos to matching the text to the heiroglyphics.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dario PPP on 19 Feb 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I saw a tv program last year about the egyptian book of the dead and at the end of the program it showed this book.It contains nice colourful prints of the scroll with the written verses underneath.
Good interesting book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 29 reviews
91 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5 star book, 4 star binding 9 Aug 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"I come with my heart bearing truth, and there are no lies in it..."
This is a visually and poetically beautiful book. The images from the papyrus are well imaged, the computerized restorations of the artwork were not (to me) obvious and did not detract from its beauty.
The translation is lyrical, and while not matched word for word with the original, the content is odd enough that I think it must be fairly close--no modern mind would make up this stuff. The papyrus text itself is clearly legible for anyone who wants to get obsessive about it (amazon also sells some books that allow you to learn middle egyptian--from which I gather that the word order in the language is very different from that in english. A word for word translation would therefore be very difficult to understand).
For someone with little familiarity with Middle Egyptian culture, the stories are a little difficult to understand on the first reading, but, inexplicably, they make more and more sense on re-reading. For example, the various afterlife characters have multiple 'epithets'--nicknames or titles--that can be difficult to keep straight, and there are references to stories that everyone in ancient Egypt probably knew but we today do not. (eg: 'He who is on his mound' probably evokes the egyptian tale of the beginning of the world--a mound rising out of a primordial ocean, upon which a falcon alighted--I'm guessing the expression refers to either Horus or Amun). Reading the text more than once allows you to pick up on some of the nicknames and blurring-together (syncretion) of the characters of the egyptian pantheon, which reduces the sense of 'having walked into the movie halfway through'.
The unusual verbal imagery is a property of the original work, and this translation does not attempt to 'interpret' these expressions for us, but leaves their ambiguities for our own minds to resolve, in my opinion making the text that much more interactive.
The commentaries at the end of the book do a good job of explaining how all this fit into the ancient Egyptian culture. The 'spells' meant to give power to the dead in the next life reveal what the ancient Egyptians valued in this one: truthfulness, 'effectiveness'/getting the job done, good food (and beer), and a safe and loving home (exemplified by the field of reeds). The basic values expressed in the text make these mysterious ancient people seem like people who could live next door today.
My only complaint is that the binding has proven not to be very secure; while I have not actually lost any pages from the book, some are loose and I fear that at some point soon, a few of them will fly out when someone opens the text. (My copy is about a year old.) Also note that the book is oversized, so you need more than a foot in height between your bookshelves in order to store it upright.
I would recommend this book for any coffee-table, because of its visual impact and beauty. I would also recommend it for anyone seriously interested in Egyptology, because of the excellent translations it contains. I recommend it for people who, like me, are new to Egyptology, because of the commentary it contains. Definitely worth the 20-odd bucks they charge for it--just don't manhandle the book spine.
97 of 102 people found the following review helpful
Ian Myles Slater on How to Succeed in the Next World 17 Sep 2003
By Ian M. Slater - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It would hardly seem necessary to add another review, but it seems it would be helpful to make a few things clear. "The Book of the Dead" is not, as some reviewers seem to think, a (not very good) encyclopedia of Egyptian life. Nor is it a compendium of mythology (the narrative content is remarkably small). Nor is it (an early but durable misconception) "the Egyptian Bible". The name applies to a number of collections of spells, prayers, hymns, and instructions (the contents varying from copy to copy, and over time), which were included in tombs. They were intended to assist the deceased in achieving a happy existence (and avoiding destruction) in the afterlife. The contents are, in this context, quite utilitarian. To the Egyptians it was "Coming Forth by Day" (as a glorified spirit), and those who could afford it commissioned beautifully executed copies as essential equipment for their long-term future. Many copies, including the Papyrus of Ani, included numerous illustrations (some exquisite) of major and minor gods, the intended owner and his family, and scenes of the (very earthly) Next World. The collection emerged from earlier bodies of tomb and coffin literature during the New Kingdom, and versions continued to be produced into Roman times.

This particular edition reproduces (beautifully) the color edition of the New Kingdom "Papyrus of Ani" published by the British Museum in 1890. That version was edited by E.A.W. Budge -- who had purchased the scroll in Egypt -- in collaboration with another Victorian-era Egyptologist, Le Page Renouf. This modern presentation is actually an improvement, since computer manipulation has allowed the rejoining of material which Budge arbitrarily separated when preparing the brittle papyrus for shipment by pasting sections on wooden blocks. (The papyrus has, inevitably, deteriorated since it was unrolled. The few modern reproductions of images from it which I have seen were a letdown after the early descriptions. James Wasserman's Preface, which mentions this problem, refers to photographs in an Egyptological series, which I have not seen.)

That first edition was always rare and expensive, and hardly ever available today, and then at a very high price indeed. It was followed in 1895 by a popular edition, prepared by Budge, containing the text in a hieroglyphic transcription, interlinear transliterations and translations, a more polished translation, and an elaborate introduction and other apparatus, including supplementary material from roughly contemporary texts, and some black and white line-drawing versions of the illustrations. This latter edition has been reissued for decades by Dover Publications, and at first glance it looks like a wonderful bargain. The arrangement looks promising, and the hieroglyphic font was a brilliant example of nineteenth-century design.

Unhappily, Budge was not only writing in the nineteenth century, he was already behind the times even then. His transliteration is utterly obsolete, and his smooth translation misleading (although the interlinear translation is sometimes helpful figuring out the original word order when comparing translations by others). His introduction and commentary are full of errors (or then-current misconceptions), and he devotes a lot of space to almost-forgotten controversies (useful to the serious student, a waste of time to most readers). I enjoy looking at it, but have never trusted it.

Budge went on to edit a "complete" Book of the Dead, the hieroglyphic text of which is still cited, and a translation of that text, still (or recently) in print (under the Arkana and other imprints) and also misleading. (There are also other editions of the 1895 version of the Papyrus of Ani, with less lavish layout.)

For anyone who has longed for the color plates of Budge's original edition, and dreamed of a modern translation of what it says, this edition will meet most demands. It does not (alas!) have a modern transliteration, but that is its only real lack. It contains a limited, but useful, commentary. There are translations, based on critically edited versions of those "Chapters" found in the Papyrus of Ani, on the same pages as the facsimiles. Like Budge's popular edition, it also contains translations of important material from other copies of the collection from the same period (known in the scholarly literature as "The Theban Recension"). The translations are based on those by the late Raymond Faulkner, which also appear, with other material, in another "Book of the Dead" translation.

So, if you are looking for an outstanding example of Egyptian funerary literature and art from the New Kingdom, you will probably want this book. If you are looking for a general introduction to ancient Egypt, a reference work, or comprehensive anthology of ancient Egyptian literature, try something else. (You will probably want to return to this if what you find there interests you, but that is another matter.)
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
An Outstanding addition for anyone interested in Egypt 21 Mar 2001
By Michael G. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is an outstanding translation and presentation of the books that make up the Papyrus of Ani. Faulkner is far superior to Budge, and this book proves it out. In addition to the beautiful pictures and fine translations, the commentaries in the back, along with the explanations of the vignettes contained in the papyrus are well worth the money. A must for anyone interested in Ancient Egypt and their culture.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful insight into Egyptian mythology and art! 26 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Papyrus of Ani is a beauty by itself, and this wonderful translation of its texts only further enhances this splendor. I cannot compare it to works translated by Wallis Budge, being that I have never undertaken any because of his reputation as a somewhat out-of-date translator. However, all criticisms aside, this piece of literature makes one better understand the at times complicated mythology of Ancient Egypt and perhaps a better understanding of the Egyptians themselves, for they made their gods as human in quality as they. The chapters not illustrated are reproduced in the back of the book in their entirety, and I doubt that a more complete copy of the Book of the Dead exhists in the scholarly realm. The plates are breath-taking, though I must admit I am somehwat against the computer restoration of some of the images, as I believe they are most beautiful in their natural, albeit blemished, form. It's rather like seeing a restoration of the limestone bust of Nefertiti; it looses something in the translation, something that says for having passed through the Amenti of time, they are still this beautiful.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Hymns for the Living; "Rise up, O. Pepi. You have not died !" 4 Sep 2005
By TheoGnostus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"As for any person who knows this spell, let him be like Re in the eastern sky, like Osiris in the midst of Duat" The Book of two Ways

Egyptian Funerary Texts:
The purpose of the Egyptian funerary texts was to provide the deceased with pass words (or magical spells) which could ensure him a safe passage into the afterlife. Egyptians used to cling to a firm belief, in an afterlife, without any shadow of doubt. The texts together with the illustrations have provided detailed information on timings and directions of the final journey. The papyrus amulets were placed on the dead body during embalming.
The funeral texts were written in Hieroglyphs, but books written in Hieratic and Demotic, were discovered in later historical epochs, that developed into three subsequent versions. The Dead came ultimately to be identified with, and referred to as Osiris, the god of the dead and afterlife, in a last step in the democratization of the right to eternal life!

The Pyramid Texts:
Most ancient surviving funerary texts, found included in the coffin are called the Pyramid Texts, were an exclusive privilege of the Kings of the Old Kingdom. An early attestation, were the Hieroglyphic inscriptions on the internal walls of the burial chamber of 'Unas Pyramid' in Memphis cemetery at Saquara. (Ca. 23rd century BC),

The Coffin Texts:
The Elite members of Pharaoh's administration, acquired a royal right to the protective texts, in the Middle Kingdom (mid 21st century BC). They were written on the inner surface of their internal wooden coffins, included with their burials, in rock-cut tombs. Few were recorded on sarcophagus, statues, tomb walls, or even grave markers or offering slabs. The book of the two ways, was a guide book to the afterlife, included detailed instructions, gathered from coffins from Hermoplis Magna, center of Toth scribes cult of wisdom.

Texts of the Dead:
'Book of the Dead' is the title given to a collection of texts containing religious utterances and magical spells, known to ancient Egyptians as, "The Chapter of Coming forth by Day." Those papyri contained a variety of chapters, selected to suit the needs of the deceased. The surviving papyri, show many examples, dating mostly from the 15th to the second century BC. Copies of The Book of the Dead inscribed on papyrus sheets, were carefully rolled and placed in the tombs of leading Egyptian officials, and high priests.

The Egyptian Book of the Dead:
Reproduced in the Ani papyrus, this meticulously written and illustrated volume, of striking beauty, set by scribes for the Royal Scribe Ani, (1250 BC) is in the British Museum. Its contents contributed to understanding Ancient Egyptian beliefs, and portrays their various concepts.
The text was translated by the late Dr. R. Faulkner, with amendments, and two extensive commentaries by Dr. O. Goelet, Jr., located in the end of the book.
The wonderful plates preserve the original color of the illustrations, produced earlier under supervision of the eminent Egyptologist Wallis Budge.

Theban Recension & Book Corpus:
This updated integral edition comprises 'The Theban Recension,' which did not appear in the papyrus of Ani, a treasure for the student of comparative religion.
Prof. Goelet commentary on the Corpus of the book (of going forth by day) and its study needs to be read carefully. It is a scholarly appreciative analysis of its canon, organization, and the manufacture of this royal papyrus.
Ogden mentions the Heliopolitan Cosmology, which Moses may have been well instructed. He interprets the names of Atum, its creator deity as: 'He Who is Eternity,' 'The Completed One,' or 'The undifferentiated One,' in close similarity to "I am Who I am," or "I am Whom I will Be."
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