The Late Egyptian Underworld Sarcophagi and Related Texts from the Nectanebid Period
Part I: Sacophagi and Texts, Part II: Plates
Despite the variety of the temple decoration during the 30. Dynasty,little is known about the theology of funeral rituals and conceptions of the afterlife during the reigns of Nectanebo I and especially during that Nectanebo II. Since the conceptions of the Netherworld during the final period of pharaonic rule has not previously been a topic of detailed study, this thorough examination of sarcophagi and papyri of the Thirtieth Dynasty and early Ptolemaic Period casts new light on the cultural and religious achievements of the Nectanebid Period, particularly in the realm of funerary religion. Not only do the texts of this period exhibit a direct relationship with the Underworld Books of the New Kingdom, but the study shows that they partook of a dynamic textual tradition, which led to new editions and creative interpretations of difficult passages, including transcriptions of cryptographic orthographies. Thus at the end of the pharaonic period and during the transition to the Ptolemaic rule, Egyptian theology reveals a final flowering, which demonstrates that one should not characterize the period as a substantial break in theological reflection of the afterlife or a sterile solidification of an ancient textual corpus. Instead the eve of the Graeco-Roman Period is more properly understood as a time of active theological speculation and engagement with the earlier corpus of Underworld Books.
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