The first proper translation of the Egyptian Pyramid Texts (The Book of the Dead) reveals their beauty as literature and their profound importance.
The Pyramid Texts were carved onto the walls of burial chambers in royal pyramids 4,000 years ago. They have intrigued scholars, mystics and historians ever since they were discovered in 1881. They have usually been misconstrued as a garbled collection of primitive myths and incantations, relegating their radiant fusion of philosophy, scientific inquiry, and religion to obscurity. Translations of the texts often reduce them to gibberish. Yet these writings are in fact among the world's oldest poetry, cosmological speculations and reflections on nature. Susan Brind Morrow has recast The Pyramid Texts as a coherent work of art, arguing that they should be recognized as a formative event in the evolution of human thought. The result is a work of beautiful and intelligent literature, alongside a persuasive argument for The Pyramid Texts' central importance to the history of language.
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