The ancient Egyptian religious books and texts are the most important sources of the Egyptian religion and mythology.
The ancient Egyptian has believed in the afterlife, so the death, according to his beliefs, was not the end of life but it was a new birth of kind and good souls to reach the god of sun on his daily journey, then the good soul would go, according to the ancient Egyptian religious books, to paradise and eternal life in the fields of god Osiris in the sky.
The significance of belief and religion in ancient Egypt was developing to be appropriate to the daily life of Egyptians. The ancient Egyptians thought that Egypt or “Kemet” was an image of the sky or a reflection of the Universe on the Earth.
The main concept of the ancient Egyptian religious books and texts throughout the history of ancient Egypt was passing to the otherworld where the eternity, peace, and calm.
In this article, we are going to talk about the most important five religious books and texts in ancient Egypt.
- Pyramid texts
The pyramid texts are the oldest ancient Egyptian religious books. It was found on the internal walls of Unas pyramid in Saqqara and also inside the pyramids of 6th dynasty kings and queens.
These texts date back to times much earlier than the 6th dynasty, but it was written during this dynasty.
These texts are not consistent and there are a lot of contradictions among its paragraphs, and these texts are acknowledged by other religious texts.
The contradiction between its paragraphs happened due to the change and evolution of ethics and thoughts throughout the ages.
The pyramid texts have varied between drama scenes, myths, protective amulets, hymns, and prayers.
The French scholar “Gaston Maspero” discovered these ancient Egyptian religious texts at the beginning of the 19th century. These texts shed light on the otherworld, its formation, and how the dead person reaches it.
The main point of these texts is the worship of god Re (the sun god). The texts also mentioned some significant rituals like the ritual of “opening the mouth”; this ritual was considered the most important one when they buried the king.
In this ritual, the priests used an ironic tool, beside the rituals of purification, offerings, incenses, and prayers. The pyramid texts represented a metaphoric image of the death in ancient Egypt.
- Coffin texts
These ancient Egyptian religious texts have derived its name from the texts found on the coffins of kings, high officials, and the public as well.
These texts considered as a developed phase of the pyramid texts; the difference between these two religious texts that the pyramid texts were for the pharaohs only, while the coffin texts were for pharaohs and other people. These texts are considered among the funeral literature.
The fame of these texts coincided with the sanctification of god Osiris, the god of the underworld and beloved of ancient Egyptians.
These ancient Egyptian religious texts consist of almost 1200 amulets written inside and outside of the coffins, and also inside and outside the jars of the Viscera’s dead, which known as canopic jars.
According to these texts, the underworld is full of difficulties and obstacles that required reading the amulets to protect the soul of the dead and help him to pass this world without facing any dangers.
These texts represented a fundamental shift in the religious thinking in ancient Egypt and it gave the rest of Egyptians, beside the king, the right to live in the eternal world, unlike the pyramid texts.
- Book of the dead
One of the most famous and important ancient Egyptian religious books. This book is famous for another name, ” Book of Coming Forth by Day” and it reflects the vision of the ancient Egyptian towards the death.
This book was considered as the final version of coffin texts; as we have found common texts between the two books.
This book consists of 200 chapters; each one has its own name and contains a lot of scenes reflect the thoughts of the ancient Egyptian about the otherworld and what happened to the soul of the dead.
We could not find this book in one copy; otherwise, we have found it on the walls of the temples, tombs, and the papyrus of mummification.
There were repeated chapters in this book. It gained a great fame as an ancient Egyptian religious book within ancient Egypt. The western scholars called this book the “bible of the ancient Egyptians”.
- Amduat book
Amduat means the “hidden room”, and it was very important Egyptian religious book. It was registered on the walls of the tombs since the 18th dynasty.
The first tomb contained the texts of this book was the tomb of king Thutmose I and the full version of this book first appeared on the walls of King Thutmose III’s tomb.
Most chapters of this books talk about the night journey of the sun; from the time of sunset until the new sun rise. The new sunrise represented the victory over the darkness, evilness, and chaos represented in the snake “Apip” which was defeated every night by god Re.
This book contains 12 chapters symbolized the 12 hours of the night; each chapter is separated from the other chapters.
Each night hour in this book has its own name and hymns that must be read by the dead to pass this hour peacefully.
This ancient Egyptian religious book was similar to the pyramid texts; as this book was exclusive for the kings to help them pass the otherworld journey and go to the eternal paradise of Osiris.
- The Book of Caverns
It was the most mysterious ancient Egyptian religious book and it had less fame than the other books.
There were two full versions of this book date back to the age of Ramessides and we do not have proof if this was the real versions of the book.
This book consists of 6 parts describe the journey of god Re in the underworld on his feet not in his boat as usual.
This book also has full details about the underworld, sinners, and their punishment, in addition to the full description of the sun journey in the underworld. This book focused also on the concept of life to the dead gods like Osiris and the gods tired by darkness like Re.