Book of the Dead

Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead — this is not a book about death. This is a book about life, conquered death. Paradoxically, the less spectacular name that has become almost as common as a symbol of ancient Egyptian pyramids, mummies and papyrus, does not correspond to the content and the idea of the work. More than that — it is just the opposite of the meaning of his real name. But it is not only in the Book of the Dead — a problem far wider.

Ancient Egypt has long since completely wrong Europeans seem strange deaths, in which people lived, ostensibly to worship her and all my life ready to die. In part, this is a natural consequence of the sources of our knowledge — probably more than 95% of monuments of ancient Egypt, found in tombs. Try to imagine what impression will make our civilization if future historians to provide only the material of our cemeteries?

Conversely, not all ancient Egyptian monuments will not be associated with the specialist world of the dead. For example, on the walls of the tombs of the pyramid era officials are almost all aspects of life on the Nile: agricultural activities, crafts, hunting, fishing, etc. And as presented — bright and sunny! Not surprisingly, that among these images are found even humorous. By the way, love to joke distinguishes modern Egyptians of other Arabs — are preserved not only physical type, but also national. Unfortunately, this theme — culture of humor of the ancient Egyptians — remains almost closed area for Egyptologists. The reason, of course, not a lack of interest in this issue among scientists, and in the complexity of the solution. It has long been sounded laughter — like the smell — it is almost imperceptible. It is different at different times and in different nations, different in different layers of the same company, and if the culture dominates individual start, it is different in some way and everyone laughing. Even fixed texts humor (for example, a favorite method of the Egyptian scribes — pun intended) is caught sometimes with great difficulty, and probably often remains undetected. The study of the culture of laughter requires a historian penetration rather amorphous and shaky area mentality.

It is notable that in the era of the New Kingdom (XVI-XI centuries. BC. E.), The main period of existence of Book of the Dead (but important, of course, and later "Saisskaya edition"), greatly increases the number of humorous texts and drawings . By this time is amazing mythological story "Litigation Choir with Seth," in which the main gods are mocking Egypt. And the right to Seth, the murder of Osiris compromised and exposed here stupid bullies, publicly insulted the king of the gods Amun-Ra! Even more fun erotic drawings — there's even a "sbornichek comic" (The Turin Erotic Papyrus: images are unique in that they are just humorous, and not for the sake of obscenities).

Thus, the name "Book of the Dead" is strongly linked with funeral texts, though Egyptologists (themselves, by the way, the "empty" is the name of the publication) are well aware that it is more than probation. The true title of the translation: "The sayings of the day out." It reflects all the main essence of this remarkable text — to help the deceased pass all the dangers of the underworld, to pass judgment and post-mortem with the solar barque of Ra to come back to earth, that is, to come to life, rise — "upgrade", as the Egyptians. Defeat the enemy — death, to guide the spiritual and sensual existence rejuvenation, ageless body on forever beautiful fertile land surrounded by their loved ones. This is a book about overcoming death, the victory over her and at the same time on how to do this. It must be emphasized that one of the central chapters of the book value for the Dead was summed up one of the greatest ideas of human culture — the idea of retribution after death (her birth in Egypt belongs to the earlier period. Tombs of the Old Kingdom in the late states in his "Autobiography": "I give bread to the hungry, water — thirsty, clothes — nude … [do so], that was good to me in the great God. "And how do you like:" Because I have no one spent the night without sleep "(ie, I did not upset, no wrong, no angered).

Book of the Dead had a great importance for the spiritual and religious life of the ancient Egyptians. She was not a funeral rite in pure form, or prayer, or a collection of myths. It is hard to even just pick a suitable name for this amazing and extremely important monument. Indeed, speaking of it, it's easier to list what it was, or maybe it will be right to say that the Egyptians it was all up — in the religious literature of Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, that is the world's great religions, there is nothing that can be compared with this amazing piece of theological thought of the highest ancient pagan culture. Apparently, we can say that the Book of the Dead was the quintessential, the center of spiritual, religious and philosophical views of a millennial culture, held a unique in world history (which is over three thousand years), no one has gone from being frustrated ancient primitive centers of consciousness to the highest civilization, which played a huge role in world culture and never lost the closest successor due to his "prehistoric" past.

In Egypt, the Book of the Dead to (its earliest lists are XVII-XVI centuries. BC. E.) There was a powerful literary tradition of the funeral — the Pyramid Texts is recorded at the end of the Old Kingdom (XXIV-XXII century. BC. E.) and dating back more distant from us periods and texts of sarcophagi (XXI-XVIII c. BC. e.). For us — it's probably a really weird product — Multi-temporal origin conglomerate very "hands-on" sayings, including direct (we think) the judges of deception ghostly, hazy dialogues, magic spells and texts, amazing in its imaginative and artistic power, stunning their spiritual, philosophical, and ethical insight. For Egyptians traveling to the kingdom of Osiris, the fragile papyrus scroll was almost the only real tangible hope to pass unharmed through the horrible, terrifying, populated by monsters of the world — the world of snakes, scorpions, ghosts, insurmountable obstacles, lakes fire and magic crystals. World, dating back to the infinitely distant times primitive initiation ceremonies gloomy foggy fragment preserved for millennia. To the ancient Egyptians, their magic scroll was a holy book, a divine revelation, given to people over — representation, distant gleam lighteneth the tablets of Moses.

Defining the writing as "honey necher" — "divine speech," the Egyptians were building her invention to the great god of wisdom and knowledge, Thoth, and the scrolls of the sacred books called "Bau Ra" — "Souls of [the god] Ra". Divine origin of the Book of the Dead was an obvious and, like all divine, accompanied by her secret: "Make a book so that the human eye can not see — it extends the steps in heaven, on earth, in the underworld. It is useful ceremonies henceforth and forever "(Chapter 144).

These last words best reflect the attitude of the ancient Egyptians to this wonderful product. No idea of what was to them a Book of the Dead, probably can not understand the essence and the spirit of their unique culture — too many ideas about being and world order, it is horrible. So it may be not so wrong were the ones who called the Bible Book of the Dead Ancient Egypt. We can say with confidence — This is the first illustrated book.

Category: Mystery stories

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