Book of the Dead–Becoming God in Ancient Egypt


“When most people think of the Book of the Dead, they think of the large, well illustrated papyrus scrolls such as the famous papyrus of Ani. However, the use of the modern title “Book of the Dead” is very misleading, as what we call the Book of the Dead is far more variable and complex set of texts. In fact, the Book of the Dead is not a “Book” in the modern sense of the term, neither in narrative concept nor in physical format. Modern books with their bound pages are descendants of the codex, a format in which a medium such as parchment or papyrus was folded and cut to produce facing pages. Groups of these pages were then gathered together and sewn through the folded edge to produce the book block. A cover of wood or leather would have been attached as a protective covering for the pages inside. The codex format became common in ancient Egypt only after the second century AD. Up until then, and for a time afterward, the primary format for “books” in ancient Egypt was the papyrus scroll.”

― Book of the Dead: Becoming God in Ancient Egypt by Foy Scalf

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