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The Surprising Appearance of the Egyptian Book of the Dead at the Beginning of the New Kingdom

The Surprising Appearance of the Egyptian Book of the Dead at the Beginning of the New Kingdom

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The Surprising Appearance of the Egyptian Book of the Dead at the Beginning of the New Kingdom

Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.

Peter F. Dorman, Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago

The ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead is an integral part of the long tradition of mortuary literature that descends from the earlier Pyramid Texts of the Old Kingdom and Coffin Texts of the Middle Kingdom. The transmigration of ritual spells from coffins of the Middle Kingdom to papyri of the New Kingdom was determined by major changes in burial custom, which also entailed experimentation with different materials that could most effectively be used in private burials. This lecture traces those burial changes, the evolution of textual transmission, the origin of illustrated vignettes, the central role of Theban region in the creation of this new funerary tradition, and the somewhat surprising end product—namely, Books of the Dead that could be afforded only by the wealthy elite.

LaSalle Banks Room, Oriental Institute, Chicago

Chapter: Illinois

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