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Title: The enemies of the dead in the Book of the Dead
Author: Empson, C. J.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2001
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The Book of the Dead contains references to many sentient enemies who may harm the deceased. This study aims to elucidate the nature of these beings in the Book of the Dead of the New Kingdom. They fall into two basic types, apotropaic and chaotic. Chaotic beings are those who try to destroy the created world while apotropaic beings protect against this threat. The deceased has to pass tests, usually based on mythical knowledge, before the apotropaic entities will allow him to pass. Once he passes them by they protect him also. I consider the Egyptian conception of the personality as it is this which is threatened and so identifies the nature of the threat. I look at the body and heart in some detail as these were aspects which the Egyptians clearly felt were in special danger or were even potentially dangerous in themselves, as is the case with the heart. There is a further significance here for I show that the chaotic beings who threaten creation can also take on aspects of the personality. They partake of creation and threaten the Universe from within. This material reality was also their downfall because it left them exposed to the threat which they posed - destruction of the personality. In the BD, very material measures are used against these beings. A chaotic being would destroy the deceased by instinctive reaction as the deceased, presumed by his copy of the BD to be part of the ordered world, was so different from the chaotic state of being that there could be no reconciliation. In the same way an apotropaic God would destroy a chaotic being instinctively - the deceased included if he failed their test. The two types of enemy are inherently different but the threat that each poses for the deceased is the same - destruction of the personality which means the second death.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available