Osiris the king, was slain by his brother Set, dismembered, scattered, then gathered up and reconstituted by his wife Isis and finally placed in the underworld as lord and judge of the dead. He was worshipped in Egypt from archaic, pre-dynastic times right through the 4000-year span of classical Egyptian civilization up until the Christian era, and even today folkloristic elements of his worship survive among the Egyptian fellaheen. In this book E. A. Wallis Budge, one of the world's foremost Egyptologists, focuses on Osiris as the single most important Egyptian deity.
This is the most thorough explanation ever offered of Osirism. With rigorous scholarship, going directly to numerous Egyptian texts, making use of the writings of Herodotus, Diodorus, Plutarch and other classical writers, and of more recent ethnographic research in the Sudan and other parts of Africa, Wallis Budge examines every detail of the cult of Osiris. At the same time he establishes a link between Osiris worship and African religions. He systematically investigates such topics as: the meaning of the name "Osiris" (in Egyptian, Asar); the iconography associated with him; the heaven of Osiris as conceived in the VIth dynasty; Osiris's relationship to cannibalism, human sacrifice and dancing; Osiris as ancestral spirit, judge of the dead, moon-god and bull-god; the general African belief in god; ideas of sin and purity in Osiris worship; the shrines, miracle play and mysteries of Osiris; "The Book of Making the Spirit of Osiris" and other liturgical texts; funeral and burial practices of the Egyptians and Africans; the idea of the Ka, spirit-body and shadow; magical practices relating to Osiris; and the worship of Osiris and Isis in foreign lands.
Throughout there are admirable translations of pyramid texts (often with the original hierogyphics printed directly above) and additional lengthy texts are included in the appendices. There are also a great many reproductions of classical Egyptian art, showing each phase of the Osiris story and other images bearing upon his worship. The great wealth of detail, primary informatioin, and original interpretation in this book will make it indispensable to Egyptologists, students of classical civilization and students of comparative religion. Since Osiris seems to have been the earliest death and resurrection god, whose worship both caused and influenced later dieties, the cult of Osiris is highly important to all concerned with the development of human culture.
E. A. Wallis Budge
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