"Book of the Dead" is the title now commonly given to the great collection of funerary texts which the ancient Egyptian scribes composed for the benefit of the dead. These consist of spells and incantations, hymns and litanies, magical formulae and names, words of power and prayers, and they are found cut or painted on walls of pyramids and tombs, and painted on coffins and sarcophagi and rolls of papyri.
their coffins, but with small sheets or strips of papyrus, on which were inscribed the above compositions, or the shorter texts of the "Book of Breathings," or the "Book of Traversing Eternity," or the "Book of May my name flourish," or a part of the "Chapter of the Last Judgment."
Ancient Egyptian tradition asserts that the Book PER-T EM HRU was used early in the Ist dynasty, and the papyri and coffins of the Roman Period afford evidence that the native Egyptians still accepted all the essential beliefs and doctrines contained in it. During the four thousand years of its existence many additions were made to it, but nothing of importance seems to have been taken away from it. In the space here available it is impossible to describe in detail the various Recensions of this work, viz., (1) the Heliopolitan, (2) the Theban and its various forms, and (3) the Saïte; but it is proposed to sketch briefly the main facts of the Egyptian Religion which may be deduced from them generally, and especially from the The
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