Book of the dead
Book of the Dead - this is not a book about death. This is a book about life, conquered death. Paradoxically, such a glamorous name, which has become almost as common as a symbol of ancient Egyptian pyramids, mummies and papyrus, does not correspond to the content and the idea of the work itself. Moreover - it is the opposite of the meaning of his real name. But it is not only in the Book of the Dead - a problem much wider.
Already long time ago ancient Egypt seems quite perverse European country of death, in which people lived, supposedly worshiped her and all life is ready to die. In part, this is a natural consequence of the sources of our knowledge - probably more than 95% of the monuments of Ancient Egypt are found in the tombs. Try to imagine what impression will make our civilization, if a future historian to provide only the material of our cemeteries?
Conversely, not all ancient Egyptian monuments are not an expert associated with the world of the dead. For example, on the walls of the tombs of the pyramids era officials practically all aspects of life on the Nile: farm work, crafts, hunting and fishing, etc. And presents - bright and sunny..! Not surprisingly, even the humor found among these images. By the way, love to joke distinguishes modern Egyptians from other Arabs - are preserved, not only physical type, but also the national character. Unfortunately, this subject - laughter culture of the ancient Egyptians - is still almost a closed zone for Egyptologists. The reason, of course, not a lack of interest in this issue among scientists and in the complexity of its decision. It has long sounded the laughter - like the smell - is almost imperceptible. It is different at different times and in different nations, different in different layers of the same society, and if the culture is dominated by individual start, he is to some extent different and everyone laughing. Even the recorded text humor (eg, a favorite method of Egyptian scribes - pun) is caught sometimes with great difficulty, and probably often remains undetected. The study of the culture of laughter requires penetration of the historian in a rather amorphous and shaky mentality region.
It is noteworthy that in the era of the New Kingdom (XVI-XI centuries. BC. E.), The main period of existence of the Book of the Dead (though important, of course, and her later "Saisskaya revision"), dramatically number of humorous texts and drawings of rises . By this time is an amazing mythological story "Lawsuit Chora with Seth," which are subject to ridicule the main gods of Egypt. And the right to Seth, compromised the murder of Osiris and exhibited here stupid bullies, publicly insulted the king of the gods Amun-Ra! Another fun erotic drawings - there is even a "sbornichek comics" (Turin Erotic Papyrus: images are remarkable in that they are just humorous, and not for the sake of obscenities).
So, the name of the "Book of the Dead" is firmly connected with funeral texts, though Egyptologists (themselves, by the way, "empty" is the name of the publication) are well aware that it is more than probation. The true title of the work translated: "the day the sayings." It reflects all the basic essence of this remarkable text - to help the deceased to pass all the dangers of the underworld, to pass judgment and post-mortem with the sun god Ra Barca once again return to the land, ie, come to life, rise -.. "Upgrade" as the Egyptians said. Defeat the enemy - death, to guide the spiritual and the sensual life in rejuvenation, ageless body on forever beautiful fertile land surrounded by their loved ones. This is a book about overcoming death, victory over her and at the same time on how to do it. . It should be emphasized that one of the central meaningfully Chapters Book of the Dead has found expression is one of the greatest ideas of human culture - the idea of the afterlife reward (its birth in Egypt relates to earlier periods in the tombs of the ancient kingdom of the late states in his "autobiography": "I giving bread to the hungry, water - thirsty, clothes - naked ... [do so], that was good to me in god's great, "And how do you like:." because of me, no one had no sleep the night "(ie, I did.. not upset, I not offended, not angered).
Book of the Dead was of paramount importance for the spiritual and religious life of the ancient Egyptians. She was not a funeral ritual in its pure form, neither prayer nor a collection of myths. It is difficult to immediately find a suitable name for this amazing and extremely important monument. In fact, talking about it, it is easier to list what it was not; or, perhaps, it is more correct to say that the Egyptians it was all these at the same time -.. in the religious literature of Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, ie the great religions of the world there is nothing that can be compared with this astounding work of the theological thought of the highest ancient pagan culture. Apparently, we can say that the Dead The book was the quintessence, the center of spiritual, religious and philosophical ideas thousands of years of culture, held a unique history of the world (which is over three thousand years old!), Nobody suppresses the way from ancient primitive centers of consciousness to the highest civilization, played a huge role in the world's culture and never lose close succession because of his "prehistoric" past.
In Egypt, to the Book of the Dead (and its ancient lists are XVII-XVI centuries. BC. E.) There was a powerful tradition of funeral literature - this Pyramid Texts, recorded at the end of the Old Kingdom (XXIV-XXII in. BC. E.) and dating from more remote from us periods, and Coffin Texts (XXI-XVIII c. BC. e.). For us - this is probably really strange work - at different times of origin conglomerate very "practical" sayings, including direct (we think) fraud afterlife judges vague dialogues, magical spells and texts, astonishing in their imaginative and artistic power, stunning their spiritual, philosophical and ethical insight. For the Egyptians traveling to the kingdom of Osiris, the fragile papyrus scroll was almost the only really tangible hope to pass unscathed through the horrible, terrifying monsters inhabited world - the world of snakes, scorpions, ghosts, insurmountable obstacles, the flame of lakes and magical crystals. The world goes back to the infinitely distant times of primitive initiation rites, gloomy foggy splinter preserved for thousands of years. To the ancient Egyptians, their magical scroll was holy book, the divine revelation given to people over - view, distant gleam lighteneth in tablets of Moses.
Defining their writing as "honey necher" - "divine speech", the Egyptians were building her invention to the great god of wisdom and knowledge of Thoth, and the scrolls of sacred books called "Bau Ra" - "Souls [god] Ra". The divine origin of the Book of the Dead was obvious and, like all divine, accompanied by her secret: "to make the book so that the human eye can not see - it extends the steps in heaven, on earth, in hell. It is useful ceremonies now and forever "(Chapter 144).
These last words best reflect the attitude of the ancient Egyptians to this wonderful product. No idea what was their Book of the Dead, apparently can not grasp the essence and spirit of their amazing culture - too many ideas about being and the world order it has got. So it might not be so wrong were those who called the Bible, Book of the Dead of Ancient Egypt. What can be asserted with confidence - this is the first illustrated book in history.