The Ancient Egyptian Netherworld Books (Book published November


Book Details

Author  John Coleman Darnell
Publisher  SBL Press
Publication Date   November 7, 2018
ISBN  0884142760
Pages  876

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The first, complete English translation of the ancient Egyptian Netherworld Books

The ancient Egyptian Netherworld Books are among the most extensive religious texts from pharaonic civilization and present humanity's oldest surviving attempts to provide a scientific map of the unseen realms beyond the visible cosmos. First attested during the middle of the second millennium BCE, the Netherworld Books decorate the walls of the New Kingdom royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings. The importance of these texts lies in their philosophical and theological speculations about the inner workings of the cosmos, particularly the events of the solar journey through the twelve hours of the night. These important texts describe one of the central mysteries of Egyptian religious belief, the union of the solar god Re with the underworldly god Osiris, and provide information on aspects of Egyptian theology and cosmography more thoroughly than what is presented in the more widely read Book of the Dead.


  • Accessible presentations of the main concepts of the Netherworld Books and the chief features of each text
  • An overview of later uses of these compositions during the first millennium BCE
  • Notes and commentary address major theological themes within the texts as well as lexicographic and/or grammatical issues
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