"The Egyptian Book of the Dead" is by far the most sensational book handed down from the priests of ancient Egypt. After nearly 4500 years it still intrigues modern readers with its imaginative insights into the universal human condition and the desire for a blissful afterlife. Entombed with this book of rituals, the deceased had an illustrated travel guide for the nightly journey with the sun through the dark and dangerous underworld, providing a guarantee of resurrection in the afterlife at dawn. We discover in the Book of the Dead a commonly shared humanity that reaches out to us across more than four thousand years with timeless and universal expressions of hopes and fears that are sometimes quite familiar, sometimes quite strange. "The Book of the Dead" did not have a single author, as it is a composite work written by unknown Egyptian priests over a period of nearly 1000 years, but there is an author to whom we are deeply indebted: British Egyptologist Sir E. A. Wallis Budge (1857-1934). Budge was an extremely productive scholar who drew attention to many Egyptian and other ancient writings that might otherwise have remained unpublished.
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