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Observations On Copying And The Hieroglyphic Tradition In The Production Of The Book Of The Dead

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Chapter Summary

As intriguing as the problem of copying and disseminating multiple versions of a hieroglyphic inscription might be, main focus of this chapter is how scribes were trained to produce and copy hieroglyphic texts on papyrus, particularly the most common of all Egyptian afterlife books, the mass-produced afterlife texts known as the Book of the Dead. The Book of the Dead, like most religious papyri, may have been written in cursive hieroglyphs, yet the scribes-more accurately scriveners in this role-who wrote out these texts were first trained extensively in the hieratic script, the form of writing employed in the transactions of everyday life. Deir el-Medina has also yielded numerous hieroglyphic ostraca, which is to be expected in light of the community's involvement with royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings, as well as the decoration of other tombs and temples elsewhere on the Theban west bank.

Keywords: Book of the Dead; Deir el-Medina; Egyptian afterlife books; hieroglyphic tradition



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