POWER OUTAGE – how to work around it and what I found doing it

So as the title says my power has been out since Saturday until yesterday night. This is because a power line was hit and then the snow made it hard for them to repair it? Fortunately, this is also the first week that my local library has reopened since November so I was able to do my research there. The biggest thing I have been diving into is the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Professor Lowe recommended a method for searching for sources through EBSCO host and I found a few interpretations of the Book of the Dead which is as close to the primary source as I will be able to get (since it’s written in Hieroglyphics). The Book has led to a huge influx of what the Egyptian afterlife consists of and has opened up my options on where to go. I began exploring the Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts which are both primary sources that were not written on Papyrus but rather the tombs, coffins, and objects within the tombs. My next goal is to explore the scripts and hieroglyphics  to develop an understanding of how this has changed over time. The reason I am doing this is because the Book of the Dead was written over 1,000 years so the changes over time should be noted.

 

The Book of the Dead is not really a “book” but rather an anthology that is rarely utilized in it’s entirety. It was utilized by individuals that were preparing to depart from life into the afterlife. It contained large numbers of spells, incantations, guides and stories of the afterlife. The intention was to help the individual navigate the puzzles, trials and dangers of the underworld in order to reach the ideal afterlife of immortality. If these trials are failed then the individual will be doomed to mortality until they decay and fade into nothing. Different individuals and clergy will utilize different segments of the Book of the Dead that they deem necessary to the journey. Since the anthology is so vast not every piece included is absolutely necessary to everyone. This get figured out between the individual and the clergy to determine what spells they will need and what trials they might have difficulties getting through. The source opens up opportunities to explore this afterlife further, what types of conversations the clergy have with those departing soon, and how the clergy or afterlife passage might be manipulated for a better outcome. The limitations exist through the language barrier and the large time frame/many authors that contributed to it. There is no one “Book of the Dead” and the copies that do exist contain different portions of the collection.

An entry from the Book of the Dead

This research has somewhat taken a broad view as I work to understand what I want my thesis to be. At this point I am getting comfortable with asking “Why was such a great emphasis placed on death and afterlife in Egypt.” I am already starting to acquaint myself with the complexities of funerary rites, afterlife beliefs, and political structure of the clergy and can see how this complex question will have a complex answer. I decided to stay away from topics figuring out how or what and stick with the why. That way I am able to interpret the known information in primary sources and secondary sources and then synthesize in a way I have not found at this point.

Egyptian Priests

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