EA Wallis Budge - Egyptian Ideas Of The Future Life (159.0 Kb)
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THE following pages are intended to place before the reader in a handy form an account of the principal ideas and beliefs held by the ancient Egyptians concerning the resurrection and the future life, which is derived wholly from native religious works. The literature of Egypt which deals with these subjects is large and, as was to be expected, the product of different periods which, taken together, cover several thousands of years and it is exceedingly difficult at times to reconcile the statements and beliefs of a writ... More >>>
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THE following pages are intended to place before the reader in a handy form an account of the principal ideas and beliefs held by the ancient Egyptians concerning the resurrection and the future life, which is derived wholly from native religious works. The literature of Egypt which deals with these subjects is large and, as was to be expected, the product of different periods which, taken together, cover several thousands of years and it is exceedingly difficult at times to reconcile the statements and beliefs of a writer of one period with those of a writer of another. Up to the present no systematic account of the doctrine of the resurrection and of the future life has been discovered, and there is no reason for hoping that such a thing will ever be found, for the Egyptians do not appear to have thought that it was necessary to write a work of the kind. The inherent difficulty of the subject, and the natural impossibility that different men living indifferent places and at different times should think alike on matters which must, after all, belong always to the region of faith, render it more than probable that no college of priests, however powerful, was able to formulate a system of beliefs which would be received throughout Egypt by the clergy and the laity alike, and would be copied by the scribes as a final and authoritative work on Egyptian eschatology.
Besides this, the genius and structure of the Egyptian language are such as to preclude the possibility of composing in it works of a philosophical or metaphysical character in the true sense of the words. In spite of these difficulties, however, it is possible to collect a great deal of important information on the subject from the funereal and religious works which have come down to us, especially concerning the great central idea of immortality, which existed unchanged for thousands of years, and formed the pivot upon which the religious and social life of the ancient Egyptians actually turned. From the beginning to the end of his life the Egyptian's chief thought was of the life beyond
the grave, and the hewing of his tomb in the rock, and the providing of its furniture, every detail of which was prescribed by the custom of the country, absorbed the best thoughts of his mind and a large share of his
worldly goods, and kept him ever mindful of the time when his mummifiedbody, would be borne to his "everlasting house" in the limestone plateau or bill.
Budge was an English Egyptologist who worked for the British Museum between 1883 and 1924. His various translations were widely used in the academic community for many years and, again, some of them right up to the present.
Throughout the years he studied and could translate many languages, including, ancient Egyptian, Hebrew, Syriac, Ethiopic and Arabic and Assyrian. He published important translations on the ancient Near East in these languages.
Although Budge retired from the British Museum in 1924, he continued to publish notable books and translations right up to the year he died, 1934. Probably the most important of his publications was this book, The Egyptian Book Of The Dead.