Book of the Dead

An Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

The Papyrus of Sobekmose

(Co-published with The Brooklyn Museum)
  1. Translation, Introduction and Commentary by Paul F. O'Rourke
  2. Foreword by Anne Pasternak
  • ISBN 9780500051887
  • 24.50 x 18.40 cm
  • Hardback
  • 216pp
  • with 61 illustrations
  • First published 2016

The first-ever translation of this important ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, fully illustrated and explained by a leading Egyptologist

‘A major step forward in the understanding of these ancient texts both in terms of the literary quality and accuracy of the rendering of the text into English’ – Timeless Travels

An Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

The Book of the Dead of Sobekmose, in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, New York, is one of the most important surviving examples of the ancient Egyptian 'Book of the Dead' genre. Such ‘books’ – papyrus scrolls – were composed of traditional funerary texts, including magic spells, that were thought to assist dead persons on their journey into the afterlife.

The ancient Egyptians believed in an underworld fraught with dangers that needed to be carefully navigated: lakes of fire to pass by, animal-headed demons to pass and, of course, the ritual Weighing of the Heart, whose outcome determined whether or not the deceased would be ‘born again’ into the afterlife for eternity.

This publication is the first to offer a continuous English translation of a single, extensive, major text that can speak to us from beginning to end in the order in which it was composed. The papyrus itself is one of the longest of its kind to come down to us from the New Kingdom.

This new translation not only represents a great step forward in the study of these texts, but also grants modern readers a direct encounter with what can seem a remote and alien civilization. With language that is unquestionably evocative and very beautiful, it offers a look into the mindset of the ancient Egyptians, highlighting their beliefs and anxieties about this world as well as the next.

Paul F. O’Rourke is Research Associate in the Department of Egyptian, Classical, and Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Brooklyn Museum.

See our extensive list of books on Ancient Egypt