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In the Late period and Ptolemaic period , the Book of the Dead remained based on the Saite recension, though increasingly abbreviated towards the end of the Ptolemaic period.
The last use of the Book of the Dead was in the 1st century BCE, though some artistic motifs drawn from it were still in use in Roman times.
The Book of the Dead is made up of a number of individual texts and their accompanying illustrations. Most sub-texts begin with the word ro, which can mean "mouth," "speech," "spell," "utterance," "incantation," or "a chapter of a book.
At present, some spells are known,  though no single manuscript contains them all. They served a range of purposes.
Some are intended to give the deceased mystical knowledge in the afterlife, or perhaps to identify them with the gods: Still others protect the deceased from various hostile forces or guide him through the underworld past various obstacles.
Famously, two spells also deal with the judgement of the deceased in the Weighing of the Heart ritual. Such spells as 26—30, and sometimes spells 6 and , relate to the heart and were inscribed on scarabs.
The texts and images of the Book of the Dead were magical as well as religious. Magic was as legitimate an activity as praying to the gods, even when the magic was aimed at controlling the gods themselves.
The act of speaking a ritual formula was an act of creation;  there is a sense in which action and speech were one and the same thing.
Hieroglyphic script was held to have been invented by the god Thoth , and the hieroglyphs themselves were powerful. Written words conveyed the full force of a spell.
The spells of the Book of the Dead made use of several magical techniques which can also be seen in other areas of Egyptian life.
A number of spells are for magical amulets , which would protect the deceased from harm. In addition to being represented on a Book of the Dead papyrus, these spells appeared on amulets wound into the wrappings of a mummy.
Other items in direct contact with the body in the tomb, such as headrests, were also considered to have amuletic value. Almost every Book of the Dead was unique, containing a different mixture of spells drawn from the corpus of texts available.
For most of the history of the Book of the Dead there was no defined order or structure. The spells in the Book of the Dead depict Egyptian beliefs about the nature of death and the afterlife.
The Book of the Dead is a vital source of information about Egyptian beliefs in this area. One aspect of death was the disintegration of the various kheperu , or modes of existence.
Mummification served to preserve and transform the physical body into sah , an idealised form with divine aspects;  the Book of the Dead contained spells aimed at preserving the body of the deceased, which may have been recited during the process of mummification.
The ka , or life-force, remained in the tomb with the dead body, and required sustenance from offerings of food, water and incense. In case priests or relatives failed to provide these offerings, Spell ensured the ka was satisfied.
It was the ba , depicted as a human-headed bird, which could "go forth by day" from the tomb into the world; spells 61 and 89 acted to preserve it.
An akh was a blessed spirit with magical powers who would dwell among the gods. The nature of the afterlife which the dead person enjoyed is difficult to define, because of the differing traditions within Ancient Egyptian religion.
In the Book of the Dead , the dead were taken into the presence of the god Osiris , who was confined to the subterranean Duat. There are also spells to enable the ba or akh of the dead to join Ra as he travelled the sky in his sun-barque, and help him fight off Apep.
There are fields, crops, oxen, people and waterways. The deceased person is shown encountering the Great Ennead , a group of gods, as well as his or her own parents.
While the depiction of the Field of Reeds is pleasant and plentiful, it is also clear that manual labour is required. For this reason burials included a number of statuettes named shabti , or later ushebti.
The path to the afterlife as laid out in the Book of the Dead was a difficult one. The deceased was required to pass a series of gates, caverns and mounds guarded by supernatural creatures.
Their names—for instance, "He who lives on snakes" or "He who dances in blood"—are equally grotesque. These creatures had to be pacified by reciting the appropriate spells included in the Book of the Dead ; once pacified they posed no further threat, and could even extend their protection to the dead person.
If all the obstacles of the Duat could be negotiated, the deceased would be judged in the "Weighing of the Heart" ritual, depicted in Spell The deceased was led by the god Anubis into the presence of Osiris.
There, the dead person swore that he had not committed any sin from a list of 42 sins ,  reciting a text known as the "Negative Confession". Maat was often represented by an ostrich feather, the hieroglyphic sign for her name.
If the scales balanced, this meant the deceased had led a good life. Anubis would take them to Osiris and they would find their place in the afterlife, becoming maa-kheru , meaning "vindicated" or "true of voice".
This scene is remarkable not only for its vividness but as one of the few parts of the Book of the Dead with any explicit moral content.
The judgment of the dead and the Negative Confession were a representation of the conventional moral code which governed Egyptian society. For every "I have not John Taylor points out the wording of Spells 30B and suggests a pragmatic approach to morality; by preventing the heart from contradicting him with any inconvenient truths, it seems that the deceased could enter the afterlife even if their life had not been entirely pure.
A Book of the Dead papyrus was produced to order by scribes. They were commissioned by people in preparation for their own funeral, or by the relatives of someone recently deceased.
They were expensive items; one source gives the price of a Book of the Dead scroll as one deben of silver,  perhaps half the annual pay of a labourer.
In one case, a Book of the Dead was written on second-hand papyrus. Most owners of the Book of the Dead were evidently part of the social elite; they were initially reserved for the royal family, but later papyri are found in the tombs of scribes, priests and officials.
Towards the beginning of the history of the Book of the Dead , there are roughly 10 copies belonging to men for every one for a woman. The dimensions of a Book of the Dead could vary widely; the longest is 40m long while some are as short as 1m.
The scribes working on Book of the Dead papyri took more care over their work than those working on more mundane texts; care was taken to frame the text within margins, and to avoid writing on the joints between sheets.
Books were often prefabricated in funerary workshops, with spaces being left for the name of the deceased to be written in later. The text of a New Kingdom Book of the Dead was typically written in cursive hieroglyphs , most often from left to right, but also sometimes from right to left.
The hieroglyphs were in columns, which were separated by black lines — a similar arrangement to that used when hieroglyphs were carved on tomb walls or monuments.
Illustrations were put in frames above, below, or between the columns of text. The largest illustrations took up a full page of papyrus. Azazel may be a wilderness-demon, but its identity is mysterious.
Chapters 17—26 are the Holiness code. It begins with a prohibition on all slaughter of animals outside the Temple, even for food, and then prohibits a long list of sexual contacts and also child sacrifice.
The "holiness" injunctions which give the code its name begin with the next section: Priests are instructed on mourning rituals and acceptable bodily defects.
Blasphemy is to be punished with death, and rules for the eating of sacrifices are set out; the calendar is explained, and rules for sabbatical and Jubilee years set out; and rules are made for oil lamps and bread in the sanctuary; and rules are made for slavery.
Chapter 27 is a disparate and probably late addition telling about persons and things dedicated to the Lord and how vows can be redeemed instead of fulfilled.
The entire book of Leviticus is composed of Priestly literature. Jacob Milgrom was especially influential in spreading this view.
He maintained that the priestly regulations in Leviticus expressed a rational system of theological thought.
Marx, Balentine , though some have questioned how systematic they really are. The main function of the priests is service at the altar, and only the sons of Aaron are priests in the full sense.
In chapter 10, God kills Nadab and Abihu , the oldest sons of Aaron, for offering "strange incense". Aaron has two sons left. Commentators have read various messages in the incident: In any case, the sanctuary has been polluted by the bodies of the two dead priests, leading into the next theme, holiness.
Ritual purity is essential for an Israelite to be able to approach Yahweh and remain part of the community.
Yahweh dwells with Israel in the holy of holies. All of the priestly ritual is focused on Yahweh and the construction and maintenance of a holy space, but sin generates impurity, as do everyday events such as childbirth and menstruation ; impurity pollutes the holy dwelling place.
Failure to ritually purify the sacred space could result in God leaving, which would be disastrous. Through sacrifice the priest "makes atonement" for sin and the offerer is forgiven but only if God accepts the sacrifice—forgiveness comes only from God.
The consistent theme of chapters 17—26 is the repeated phrase, "Be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. The need for holiness is directed to the possession of the Promised Land Canaan , where the Jews will become a holy people: You shall do my ordinances and keep my statutes I am the Lord, your God" ch.
Evidence of its influence was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls , which included fragments of seventeen manuscripts of Leviticus dating from the third to the first centuries BC.
Because of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, Jewish worship has focused on prayer and the study of Torah.
Nevertheless, Leviticus constitutes a major source of Jewish law and is traditionally the first book taught to children in the Rabbinic system of education.
There are two main Midrashim on Leviticus—the halakhic one Sifra and a more aggadic one Vayikra Rabbah. The New Testament , particularly the Epistle to the Hebrews , uses ideas and images from Leviticus to describe Christ as the high priest who offers his own blood as a sin offering.
Christians generally have the view that the New Covenant supersedes i. Christian teachings have differed, however, as to where to draw the line between ritual and moral regulations.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the Christian metal band, see Leviticus band.