Book of the Dead

Celebrated work of the ancient Egyptians, comprising a collection of prayers and incantations for use of the dead. The authorship was ascribed to the god Thoth. Earlier forms were written in hieroglyphics; under the 21st and 22nd dynasties cursive character was used. Papyri were buried with the dead. The ritual was based on the belief that the souls had to pass through a difficult region called Tuat and that prayers and amulets were necessary. After religion had become more spiritual an ethical element was introduced. Chapter CXXV which belongs to 18th dynasty depicts the soul brought before Osiris for judgment and is remarkable for its lofty moral standard. The cult of Osiris was connected with the Egyptian belief in immortality.

New Catholic Dictionary

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