The Book of the Dead

by schnell 16 Replies latest jw friends

  • schnell

    As I've been reading the book "What did Africa Contribute to the Origins of Religion" by Robin Walker, I've been fascinated with Walker's work and it's led me to something I never thought I'd want to read. The Egyptian Book of the Dead.

    I got a copy of E.A. Wallis Budge's 19th century translation of the Papyrus of Ani from Barnes and Noble, so I'm sure everyone here can procure a copy or find it free online. I personally wanted this in print so I can put it on my shelf.

    I'm not reviewing it here (yet), but I've just JUST ***JUST*** started reading it. But two pages in and I'm already seeing obvious comparisons

    For one thing, Ani is a scribe in the book and his role seems reminiscent of John in Revelation. Dare I suggest that the author of Revelation (whom I maintain is Cerinthus but we may never know for sure) had knowledge or even a copy of this Papyrus? Considering how many copies there are around the world (with chapters of the BOTD being engraved and painted and copied in a multitude of places like pyramid walls and papyrus codices, and considering how many ancient books were produced and traded in places like Timbuktu alone), it seems unlikely to me at this point that the author knew nothing of the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

    Another thing is something I look forward to reading about further along in the book. When you are resurrected, it is to paradise or to judgement. If you were a rotten prick in your life, you were resurrected to judgement and a monster swallowed you and that was the second death... Also found in Revelation.

    And another thing. Ani's first words in his papyrus are a praise to Ra, and he says, "Homage to thee, O thou who hast come as Khepera, Khepera, the creator of the gods."

    Who is Khepera? The footnote describing this character is fascinating: "The god Khepera is usually represented with a beetle for a head; and the scarab, or beetle, was sacred to him. The name means "to become, to turn, to roll," and the abstract noun kheperu may be rendered by "becomings" or "evolutions." The god was self-created, and was the father of all the other gods; men and women sprang from the tears which fell from his eyes; and animal and vegetable worlds owed their existence to him. Khepera is a phase of Tmu, the night-sun, at the twelfth hour of the night, when he "becomes" the rising sun or "Harmachis" (i.e. Horus in the horizon). He is also described as "Khepera in the morning, Ra at mid-day, and Tmu in the evening."

    You're welcome.

  • dropoffyourkeylee

    I've always heard of the book but never read it or looked at it. Keep it up and pass along any observations

  • Xanthippe

    I've always thought it odd that they revered the dung beetle. I've glanced through the book of the dead. It's interesting that humans have believed in life after death for thousands of years.

  • Heaven

    schnell, "The Book of the Dead" is a good choice.

    As children raised in any faith, we are indoctrinated from birth to only the agenda of the authorities of that faith. It is only as we get older, and we begin to apply logic, reason, mathematics, and a number of other different disciplines, including researching previous belief systems to the one we've been raised in, that we come to realize we have been manipulated, lied to, and for many in the Christian faith, maneuvered through the Bible to suit a religious agenda.

    Christianity adopted much of the previous belief systems. I figure it was partly due to people not wanting to give up their traditions and also partly to attract people to the new cult. There are many similar themes found in Christianity that are in the Egyptian "Book of the Dead". Knowing that this book was written before the Bible is important too as, at least for me, I was led to believe that Christianity was unique, and THE only solution and way to live.

    Xanthippe said: I've always thought it odd that they revered the dung beetle.

    Manure has many beneficial uses and was used extensively in ancient times for various applications. Even today, as an example, paper is made from elephant dung, due to it's high plant fiber content.

    The dung beetle was associated with the divine manifestation of the early morning sun, Khepri, whose name was written with the scarab hieroglyph and was believed to roll the disk of the morning sun over the eastern horizon at daybreak. Since the scarab hieroglyph, Kheper, refers variously to the ideas of existence, manifestation, development, growth, and effectiveness, the beetle itself was a favourite form used for amulets in all periods of Egyptian history. In later parts of the period, they symbolically represented the heart and were placed in the bandages of mummies of the deceased. A winged scarab might also be placed on the breast of the mummy, and later a number of other scarabs were placed about the body.

  • Vidiot
  • schnell

    I love how the idea of Khepera ("to become") predates the idea of Yahweh ("causes to become"), however you look at it. Yahweh's roots can be drawn back to not only Canaanite but to Egyptian gods, and of course, because Canaan was a vassal of Egypt.

    Furthermore, Robin Walker writes that "It is from the Greek writers that we learn that the gods of the Ancient World were originally dead rulers in Africa." He is talking about Shango, the Yoruba king who made developments in metallurgy and was deified as the thunder god, and Asar, who was the human king deified as Osiris.

    It is entirely consistent with the Out-of-Africa theory of anthropology that so much of our religious ideas developed in Africa.

  • Crazyguy

    Great book to read and your on the right track. When comparing the writings of Egypt and what you'll find on the walls of the temples and coffins and pyramids it will become clear to you that Christianity has stolen many of its ideas from Egypt.

  • schnell

    Yep. Hey, did you know another name for Isis was commonly pronounced "Mary"?

  • schnell

    Something else. The Egyptians saw the self as multiple selves that needed to be organized, or else you'd be a mess, including the mind, the heart, the soul, the vital force... Curious, no?

  • Crazyguy

    Be careful about what you read concerning Egypt and thier similarities. Some of what has been taught in the internet is inaccurate. Example, Jesus is a remake of Horus, not true and many of the things said about Horus can't be found in any place in Egypt.

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