The Egyptian Book of the Dead
The Book of Going Forth by Day
20th Anniversary Edition!
The First Authentic Presentation of the Complete Papyrus of Ani
Featuring integrated text and full-color images
Chronicle Books ISBN: 978-1-4521-4438-2
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Learn how the Modern Edition of the Papyrus of Ani was created.
The Chronicle Books edition of The Book of Going Forth by Day was first published in 1994 and revised in 1998. This twentieth anniversary edition includes several important new features and twenty new pages.
The first addition is an essay by Egyptological scholar J. Daniel Gunther, who presents an overview of the history of academic research in Egyptian religion and philology during the past two hundred years. The decipherment of the Rosetta Stone in the 1820s began to open the mysteries of ancient Egypt to a world hungry for understanding. Gunther has brought to life some of the trials and passions of scholars who dared journey into a territory that had been wrapped in darkness for millennia.
The second is a critical contribution by Dr. Ogden Goelet, who supervised the original publication; he has compiled an annotated bibliography that replaces and expands upon his twenty-year-old original. It is a state-of-the-art survey of academic sources, especially those created in the past two decades. Dr. Goelet has divided the bibliographical materials into separate categories that include: general studies of Egyptian Afterlife literature; Book of the Dead studies and bibliographies; production techniques of Book of the Dead manuscripts; comprehensive commentaries and translations; suggestions for a program of self-study for the interested amateur; and a selection of online resources. Each section is preceded by a brief introduction that explains its parameters.
The third is a series of improvements to the color images of the Papyrus itself. Some of these were done with reference to the 1979 portfolio of photographs from the British Museum. Other adjustments to the presentation of the scroll were noted during the electronic conversion from its 1993 manual format. All are detailed in a new introduction by James Wasserman, who also discusses the continuing contemporary relevance of ancient Egypt in Western culture.
Written and painted some 3300 years ago, The Papyrus of Ani is the most complete, ornate, and best-preserved example of Ancient Egyptian philosophical and religious thought ever discovered.
It is presented here for the first time in its original form, with the hieroglyphic images matched to what has been acknowledged as the finest English translation of the text.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead opens the door to one of humanity's earliest and finest spiritual treasures.
Selections from the Foreword
I began working at Samuel Weiser's Bookstore in New York in 1973. There I came upon the "elephant folio" (14-3/4 x 21 inches) facsimile of the Papyrus of Ani. Published by the British Museum in 1890, this magnificent volume overwhelmed me with the intensity and beauty of its mysterious imagery. My interest in occult philosophy naturally led me to study the text of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. I first used the virtually unreadable 1895 translation by Budge in the ubiquitous Dover reprint. The original edition had been released as a companion to the facsimile. One was expected to view the images in the facsimile while reading the separate translation.
In January of 1979, I purchased the facsimile and soon after found myself literally "watching" a vision of this book - that is, the exquisite papyrus in full color running along the top of the page, with a readable, uncluttered English translation below. Now that vision has been realized – the rendition of an ancient Egyptian papyrus that comes the closest in 3500 years to approximating the feeling of the original, where the words and images are again treated as a unity.
There are three key issues regarding the creation of this book. The first is the text. My original idea, developed in detail over several years, was to follow the Ani Papyrus word for word. I planned to use Budge's translation, with his excellent key to the hieroglyphics as my guide, to present the text and images together on the same page. Dr. Goelet, however, made clear, first, that Budge's translation falls far short of modern standards, and second, that the hieroglyphic text of the Ani Papyrus itself is of uneven quality, often much inferior to the excellence of its vignettes. He proposed that we use Faulkner's translation of the "ideal text" of each chapter below the images of the Ani Papyrus, supplemented by his own translations where necessary. Our text would then represent the best translation from the best Egyptological sources for the specific chapter of the Book of the Dead illustrated in the Ani Papyrus.
Thus this volume combines the finest modern scholarship with the most beautifully illuminated surviving ancient papyrus.
The second concern is my "recutting" or electronic reorganization of the papyrus. The medium of a scroll is vastly different from that of a book, and I have sought to restore the integrity of the images at all costs. Budge unfortunately cut the original papyrus using the basic "yardstick" method—; dividing it into thirty- seven sheets of relatively even length. The result was to disfigure the flow of the original scroll. On the other hand, the facsimile volume he published looks more like a book, with images of uniform width across pages of uniform width. In this edition, you will find some few images occupying just over a third of the page in width, while others have necessitated the trouble and expense of gatefold spreads to properly accommodate the ornately bordered art.
The third issue to address is my decision to use the 1890 facsimile as the primary artistic reference for this edition, rather than the original Papyrus of Ani in the British Museum. The reason is simple: the condition of the 3500-year-old original. Budge's facsimile was much closer to what the original would have looked like when it was first created. The sole purpose of the extensive electronic retouching that we have devoted to the papyrus, has been to bring the images even closer to their original form – in fact, to recreate the original Papyrus of Ani in book form three and a half millennia after the scroll was first painted. We have literally spanned the ages by making use of state-of-the-art modern electronic technology to reclaim one of the most beautiful treasures of antiquity.
I believe the power, wisdom, and spiritual vision offered in the following pages can be greatly beneficial to our modern culture. Perhaps in searching out our spiritual roots, we can rediscover the golden thread all but lost today. The ancient Egyptians taught that the individual who led a pure life and persevered against deadly trials would then feast with the Gods. This is an altogether refreshing assessment of our inherent human divinity. Were we, as a culture, to be reminded of such an elevated spiritual condition, might not the true pride so engendered help end the irresponsibility endemic to our world? After all, noblesse oblige!