M. Smith, The Liturgy of Opening of the Mouth for
176 pp. 31 x 25 cm; 12 photos; cloth 0 900416 62 9; 1994.
This is an ancient Egyptian mortuary text preserved in four
manuscripts, one in Berlin,
one in Strasbourg, one in Paris and one divided between Paris
and Oxford. All are
written in Demotic script (the simplified, popular form of
ancient Egyptian writing) and
datable to the early part of the 1st century AD. The purpose
of the liturgy was threefold;
to revivify the deceased person for whom it was recited, to
provide them with offerings in
the form of clothing and sustenance, to reintegrate them
within the cosmos, ensuring their
freedom of movement and acceptance among the company of gods.
The work has
affinities with the earlier Rite of the opening of the Mouth,
and may have served as a
substitute for that ritual, to be read out at the entrance to
the tomb on the day of burial.
Thereafter, it may have been interred along with the deceased,
to serve as a passport to
the afterlife. The liturgy is edited with an introduction,
transliteration and translation,
commentary, bibliography, glossary and photographs of all four
versions. The Strasbourg
MS contains additional textual material, of uncertain relation
to the liturgy proper, which
is treated as an appendix.
Sample page 126.
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