Friday, October 27, 2023

Lenzo G., The Greenfield Papyrus (Peeters)

The Greenfield Papyrus
Funerary Papyrus of a Priestess at Karnak Temple (c. 950 BCE)

SERIES:British Museum Publications on Egypt and Sudan, 15

PRICE: 195 euro
YEAR: 2023
ISBN: 9789042948426
E-ISBN: 9789042948433
PAGES: XII-479 p.


The Greenfield Papyrus (P. BM EA 10554), at more than 37m in length, is the longest funerary papyrus surviving from ancient Egypt. Its content is highly original because it combines spells from the Book of the Dead with a “mythological” section, as well as with hymns and litanies stemming from the context of temple liturgies. Furthermore, the selection of spells from the Book of the Dead provides very important insights into the Third Intermediate Period (1069-664 BCE). The Greenfield Papyrus is also of central importance to an understanding of the evolution of the Book of the Dead, after the New Kingdom (1539-1069 BCE) and before the Late and Ptolemaic Periods (664-30 BCE). The owner of the papyrus, Nestanebetisheru, occupied a very important position as priestess in the temples of Karnak. Since this role probably gave her access to temple archives, she may have selected the texts of her papyrus herself.

This volume, which I have just run across, is outside PaleoJudaica's usual range. But since I have written recently (here and links) on the Egyptian Book of the Dead, it is worth noting. According to the description, this is the longest known Book of the Dead manuscript. Like the Papyrus of Ani, it is in the British Museum.

The volume contains the most recent introduction to and translation of a manuscript of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. But it is a complete edition, with photos and transcriptions of the hieroglyphic text and philological commentary. It is aimed at specialists and is very expensive. But there you have it. Enjoy.

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