Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt by Jan Assmann

By Jan Assmann

[translation of "Tod und Jenseits im alten Ägypten", 2001]

"Human beings," the acclaimed Egyptologist Jan Assmann writes, "are the animals that experience to reside with the data in their demise, and tradition is the realm they carry to allow them to reside with that knowledge." In his new booklet, Assmann explores photographs of demise and of loss of life rites in old Egypt to supply startling new insights into the actual personality of the civilization as a whole.

Drawing at the unusual style of the dying liturgy, he arrives at a remarkably accomplished view of the faith of demise in historic Egypt. Assmann describes intimately 9 varied photos of demise: loss of life because the physique being torn aside, as social isolation, the inspiration of the court docket of the lifeless, the lifeless physique, the mum, the soul and ancestral spirit of the lifeless, demise as separation and transition, as homecoming, and as mystery. Death and Salvation in historical Egypt additionally features a attention-grabbing dialogue of rites that mirror ideals approximately loss of life via language and ritual.

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Extra info for Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt

Example text

Geb is the authority who has the final word in the succession to the rulership, for after the death of Osiris, the royal office reverts to him as predecessor of Osiris and father of the brothers who are in contention. The first and last strophes lay stress on an important constellation, the togetherness of father and son. It is akh (in this context an untranslatable word, and one to which we shall often return) with the son in the presence of Osiris, and his heart turns to his dead father. Another important, typical Horus-text is Pyramid Texts spell 364, in which we again find a number of the motifs dealt with just above: 42 Death as Social Isolation O Osiris Khentamentiu, arise!

6 Another spell leaves us to understand that even the king’s dead condition as he lay in the liminal state of the embalming process, during which he had not yet become an ancestral spirit, was in no way to be made known: It is Horus, who has come to claim his father Osiris. It is dangerous for him that the king is passing over the places of Anubis;7 no one who hears of this shall live. 40 Death as Social Isolation O Thoth, spare no one who hates the king. 9 By transforming the deceased into a transfigured ancestral spirit, the ritual of transfiguration affects both his physical and his social sphere.

This was especially true of Egyptian mortuary religion. The original experience of death was in no way covered up or suppressed by the counterimages of religion. These counterimages made that which they negated, the darker aspects of the theme of death, all the more intensely borne in mind. Along with the transfiguring texts of the mortuary religion, which sketch magnificent, linguistically articulated images, there are other texts that speak of loneliness and darkness, lack, deprivation, and paralysis.

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