• The Book of the Dead

  • The History and Legacy of Ancient Egypt’s Famous Funerary Texts
  • By: Charles River Editors
  • Narrated by: Jim D. Johnston
  • Length: 1 hr and 31 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (83 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $6.95

Buy for $6.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Given the abundance of funerary artifacts that have been found within the sands of Egypt, it sometimes seems as though the Ancient Egyptians were more concerned with the matters of the afterlife than they were with matters of the life they experienced from day to day. This is underscored most prominently by the pyramids, which have captured the world’s imagination for centuries. 

Generations have viewed them as symbols of a lost past, which in turn is often portrayed as a world full of romance and mystery. This verbal meaning has become associated with the structures through the tourism industry, where intrigue obviously boosts ticket sales. In fact, the Egyptian pyramids are so old that they were also drawing tourists even in ancient times. In antiquity, the Great Pyramid of Giza was listed as one of Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, and it is the only one still surviving today. 

Though the ancient tombs have been extensively plundered, they still stand as gateways to the afterlife that provide a murky window into the past of a fascinating civilization. Most importantly, the relatively untouched tomb of the young King Tutankhamun offered clear insight. Many of the objects that were discovered in Tutankhamun’s tomb were clearly made specifically for him and his burial, such as the coffins, funerary masks, canopic equipment and statues. 

To accomplish all the necessities the Egyptians believed in, they relied on spells and invocations, which were collected in a series of funerary texts such as the Pyramid Texts. By the era of the New Kingdom, the most popular funerary text was The Book of the Dead, one of the most evocative titles of literature in the history of humankind. Its mystical writings offer a glimpse into a realm of magical thinking beyond the skills of most writers of fiction. The Book of the Dead has enraptured scholars and laymen for centuries. For that reason, it may surprise many that The Book of the Dead does not actually exist as a book. In fact, what is referred to as The Book of the Dead today is actually the accumulation of around 400 spells from the whole gamut of Egyptian history. The name was given to this collection of texts by modern Egyptologists, but the fact remains that no one text contains all of the spells associated with this body of work. 

To the ancient Egyptians, these spells would have loosely contributed to a collection known as The Book of Coming Forth by Day. This moniker is extremely important to the understanding of its primary purpose: returning from the depths of “night.” The Egyptian concept of “coming forth by day” meant rebirth, just as the sun is “reborn” each morning after its “death” at sunset. In other words, rather than the work being any kind of magical book to summon, speak with, or fight against “the dead”, it is actually a manual for the dead to go beyond their physical death and “come forth” into an eternal state of bliss.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The Book of the Dead

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    52
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    4
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    41
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    41
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

This is an overview.

Very little of the actual book of the dead. Generally an overview with opinion of the author and a few quotes.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Fine for those new to ancient Egypt

If you're looking for an actual translation of the ancient Egyptian funerary texts, then this little audiobook brought out by Charles Rivers Editors is not going to be for you. The Book of the Dead: The History and Legacy of Ancient Egypt’s Famous Funerary Texts is exactly what it says it is – and it's a (very) brief, somewhat shallow glance at the complex funerary texts and their applications in ancient Egypt over the ages.

Narrator Jim D Johnston does a fair job narrating this short audiobook that, if you're anything like me – an armchair Egyptologist who's read widely and deeply over the years – you're bound to be slightly let down by the content. I learnt nothing new here, so I would recommend this more for people who are going to use this as a starting point for their own studies.

We can tell much about a culture based on the objects found in tombs, and the sheer attention to detail the ancient Egyptians invested in their art has provided a veritable treasure trove for archaeologists, despite the plundering of the final resting places of all their material wealth, in most cases. The gist of the whole deal with the ancient Egyptian books of the dead is that we're not dealing with *a* book of the dead, but rather an ever-changing selection of spells inscribed at first on the walls of tombs, and on coffins, and eventually on papyri buried with the deceased. These spells assured a safe journey into the Amduat (netherworld) and offered protection from many ills, among other things.

If you're new to the study of ancient Egypt, then this rather 'slim' volume might be right for you. But if this is not your first rodeo in terms of researching history, rather seek elsewhere.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

This is not the Egyptian Book of the Dead!

This is a sad, westernized, contemptuous review of Per Em Heru (The Book of the Dead)

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

loved it.

it has great info and I really loved the narrator for this book. kept me interested and awake!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

it was grate

I loved it alot
love learning about ancient Egypt and its culture
he was grate