- Sep 29, 2013
The Book of the Dead is the common name for the ancient Egyptian funerary texts known as The Book of Coming [or Going] Forth By Day. The name "Book of the Dead" was the invention of the German Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius, who published a selection of some texts in 1842. Religion guided every aspect of Egyptian life. Egyptian religion was based on polytheism, or the worship of many deities. The Egyptians had as many as 2000 gods and goddesses each representing characteristics of a specific earthly force, combined with a heavenly power. Often gods and goddesses were represented as part human and part animal. They considered animals such as the bull, the cat, and the crocodile to be holy. Their two chief gods were Amon-Ra and Osiris. Amon-Ra was believed to be the sun god and the lord of the universe. Osiris was the god of the underworld and was the god that made a peaceful afterlife possible. The Egyptian "Book of the Dead" contains the major ideas and beliefs in the ancient Egyptian religion. Because their religion stressed an afterlife, Egyptians devoted much time and energy into preparing for their journey to the "next world.