E.A. Wallis Budge was an English philologist and writer who worked for the British museum. Budge wrote and translated a lot of works on the ancient East after taking multiple trips to Egypt and the Sudan. The Egyptian Book of the Dead is the name given to a series of ancient Egyptian funerary texts dating from 1550-50 B.C. Known in Egypt as the “Book of Coming Forth by Day,” the text has a number of magic spells that were to assist the dead person to the underworld and the afterlife. The Book of the Dead was part of a tradition of funerary texts which includes the earlier Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts, and some of the Book of the Dead’s spells came from these older books There was no single Book of the Dead. Instead, it has come together from surviving papyrus writings that contained a selection of religious texts and spells, varying considerably in hieroglyphics and illustrations. Some Egyptians seem to have commissioned their own copies of the Book of the Dead, perhaps choosing the spells they thought most vital in their own progression to the afterlife. The Book of the Dead was placed in the coffin or burial chamber of the deceased, while spells from the Book were inscribed on the sarcophagus and tomb walls. The existence of the Book of the Dead was known as early as the Middle Ages, but nobody could understand the contents, and it was often misinterpreted as an Egyptian version of the Bible or Qu’ran. It eventually was translated during the 19th century, with the most common translation coming from E. A. Wallis Budge.
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The Egyptian Book of the Dead is unquestionably one of the most influential books in all history. Embodying a ritual to be performed for the dead, with detailed instructions for the behaviors of the disembodied spirit in the Land of the Gods, it served as the most important repository of religious authority for some three thousand years. Chapters were carved on the pyramids of the ancient 5th Dynasty, texts were written in papyrus, and selections were painted on mummy cases well into the Christian Era. In a certain sense it stood behind all Egyptian civilization. In the year 1888, Dr. E. Wallis Budge, then purchasing agent for the British Museum, followed rumors he heard of a spectacular archeological find in Upper Egypt, and found in an 18th Dynasty tomb near Luxor "the largest roll of papyrus I had ever seen, tied with a thick band of papyrus, and in a perfect state of preservation." It was a copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, written around 1500 B.C. for Ani, Royal Scribe of Thebes, Overseer of the Granaries of the Lords of Abydos, and Scribe of the Offerings of the Lord of Thebes. This Papyrus of Ani, a full version of the Theban recension, is presented here by Dr. Budge, who later became perhaps the world's most renowned Egyptologist. Reproduced in full are a clear copy of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, an interlinear transliteration of their sounds (as reconstructed), a word-for-word translation, and separately a complete smooth translation. All this is preceded by an introduction of more than 150 pages. As a result of this multiple apparatus the reader has a unique opportunity to savor all aspects of the Book of the Dead, or as it is otherwise known, The Book of the Great Awakening.About the Author :
E. A. Wallis Budge, the author of numerous books, was once the Keeper of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiques in the British Museum.
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