Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Pyramid Texts (Cont.)

     The Pyramid Texts have been broken down into different groups by several scholars, most recently James Allen and Harold M. Hays. The texts are generally written from top to bottom of the wall they are on, but a few spells in a few of the pyramids are written from bottom to top for reasons that are unclear today.

     Dr. Hays, in his book The Organization of the Pyramid Texts (2 volumes, Probleme der Aegyptologie, volume 31, Boston: Brill, 2012) makes the point that, while a number of spells were meant to be read by others for the benefit of  the deceased,  many of the spells were also designed to be spoken by the deceased himself for his own benefit. Some of the utterances even urge the deceased to not share the spell with anyone else.

     Dr. Hays is also of the opinion (correctly I believe) that the writing that makes up the Pyramid Texts was copied onto the walls from another source (likely a papyrus scroll). He also believes (again, I think correctly) that the rituals that were to be performed along with the reciting of these texts were performed outside the pyramid, not inside the crowded and dark burial chamber itself. In other words, the spells are written on the interior walls of the pyramid, but the spells in the tomb were not actually used or recited during the funeral (the copy on a priests papyrus scroll would have been used during the funeral).

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