The complete Book of the Dead - Read the Papyrus of Ani, a complete version of the book, translated by E.A. Wallis Budge
Comparison between the Egyptian book of the Dead and the Quran
|Criteria||Egyptian Book of the Dead||Muslim Quran|
|Evolution||- The product of a long process of evolution from the Pyramid texts of the Old Kingdom to the Coffin Texts of the Middle Kingdom
- In New Kingdom around 1600 BC, the book was fully evolved, with one-third of its chapters derived from the Coffin Texts
- During the Late Kingdom, the book was adapted to a new form called The Book of Breathings, which remained in use until the end of the Ptolemaic Period in the first century BC
|- Muslims consider the text in its original Arabic to be the literal word of God, revealed to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel over a period of twenty-three years
- The Quran was initially read in prayers, and did not exist in book form until after Muhammad's death in 632
|Versions||- The book of the dead was not organized or standardized, versions dating to the New Kingdom are known as the 'Theban
- In the Third Intermediate Period leading up to the Late Kingdom, the book of the dead became increasingly standardized and organized, and books of this period are known as the 'Saite Reading'.
|There is only one official, standardized version of the Arabic Quran|
|Illustration and structure||- By the New Kingdom, most text Spells were illustrated with pictures.
In many manuscripts the vignettes constitute a row of pictures, with texts placed beneath them.
- in the Late Kingdom, vignettes were often used for the Spells, without the texts.
- The texts are divided into individual Spells or chapters, two hundred in total, though no one papyrus contains them all.
|The Quran consists of 114 chapters of varying lengths, each known as a sura, which are read with no graphical illustrations|
|Usage||- Used by the dead - A group of funerary chapters, commissioned by the deceased before their death, and were the deceased's guide Book to a happy afterlife.
- The text was intended to be read by the deceased during their journey into the underworld.
- It enabled the Dead to overcome obstacles of the underworld and not lose their way. It did this by teaching passwords, giving clues, and revealing routes that would allow to answer questions and navigate around hazards. It would grant the help and protection of the gods while proclaiming the deceased's identity with the gods to attain an afterlife of bliss in the Field of Reeds.
|Used by the living A book of divine guidance and direction for mankind. Therefore it is considered very important for Muslims to read and implement in their dairy lives|
|Production||- If the prospective owner of a Book was wealthy and his death not untimely, he might commission a Scribe to write the text for him, based upon his personal choice of Spells.
With Specific chapters could be selected out of the total repertoire.
- Other less wealthy clients had to make do with a ready made text template, prefabricated in funerary workshops, with spaces being left for the name of the deceased to be written in later.
|Standardized mass production|
Video: Kemetic How-to Guide: Understanding the Book of the Dead
An overview of the history, content and available translations of the Egyptian Book of the Dead...as much as we can cram into a fifteen-minute talk!...