Egyptian Mythology

Egyptian Religion and Mythology

What are the Coffin Texts?

The Coffin Texts are funerary writings found on coffins and tomb walls of the Middle Kingdom—that is, between c. 2055 and 1550 B.C.E. Written in Middle Egyptian and in a later literary or hieratic script, the Coffin Texts, like the Pyramid Texts, are concerned with the passage of the dead king’s life after death. Although there are no complete mythological narratives in the Coffin Texts, there is more information about specific myths than exists in the Pyramid Texts. There is, for instance, a spell which gives instructions on how to navigate the solar barque of Ra. In a section of the writings known as the Book of Two Ways, there are maps of the passage through the afterlife, including the land of Rosetau, where Osiris’s body lay in flames and through which the dead person must pass in order to reach the heavenly paradise. More information on creation is given, including an explanation of the dualism represented by the struggle between the creator god Atum-Ra, the representative of divine order, and Apophis, the monstrous representative of Chaos. Many of the same gods mentioned in the Pyramid Texts appear. Thoth is important, as are Horus and Seth and Osiris, the resurrection god with whom the dead pharaoh was identified.


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