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Great Sphinx The Nile
Leisure Temple
The mummy
Book of the Dead
The Gods
Old and New Kingdom
The writing and scribes
Room Campana
Room of Bronzes


The Book of the Dead anonymous

 N 3073

Sully Room 17 2 showcase

The Book of the Dead is one

of the oldest religious texts.

The Book of the Dead anonymous

This collection of formulas and incantations are intended to guide the soul in the hereafter and protect them from dangers. The papyrus is dragged into the sarcophagus of the mummy’s bandages; it describes the wanderings of the soul after death. Note the Judgment of Death (Chapter 125). The need for unity in the afterlife of the soul (ba) of the spirit (akh) and the body is particularly marked. AE29

, the dog-headed god, is placed left on the tray of the balance representing the heart of the deceased's soul, and in the other pan Maat, goddess of Truth and Justice, symbolized by a feather. Thoth records the result of the weighing on the shelf before sending it to Osiris. If the decision is favorable, the soul will go to enjoy the bliss of the gods. AE30

The Egyptians divided the people into three entities: the ka, ba, and akh. The ka was the spiritual copy of the physical body. After death the ka left the body and lived in the tomb. The ba symbolized the personality of the deceased and he was represented by a bird with a human head. The akh was germinating the mummy while incantations were recited. The akh was living in the world of gods. AE31

Funerary Papyrus Sérimen    E  17400

Sully Room 13 window 11

Very poor in text, this papyrus is decorated with representations from the book of the dead. Note down the soul of the deceased, in the form of a bird that flies over his mummy watched over by the goddesses.

This "soul" carries the upper part of a hooked cross, because to the Egyptians, death was a break in life.

Immortality of the soul

Like the Babylonians, they believed in the immortality of the soul. These images also evoke scenes of "doomsday" of the central porch of Notre Dame.
Portal of the Last Judgement

Facade of the Notre-Dame, Paris
Amid the central portal:
Weighing of the Souls.

The elect are taken to heaven
by angels, the outcasts driven
to hell by demons.
In the forefront, Christ
is seated on his court.

 Facade of the Notre-Dame, Paris

The beliefs in the immortality of the soul and its variants have been shaped by a single Babylonian concept. Death was regarded by theologians as the Chaldean passage to another life form. It is also a product of the Greek spirit, which owes its development and its development in Western thought from the philosopher Plato AE33, while hope of a resurrection belongs to Jewish thought.  AE32  

 Immortality of the soul, a Babylonian concept

 Greek philosophy penetrated the concept of the immortal soul among theologians.

But it is a total perversion.

Any thinking Christian will be deflected from this mutation from Greek philosophy and Oriental religions.

Jacques Ellul AE34


Spinoza shocked Jews and Christians

to discover that the concept of immortality of the soul was totally foreign to the Old Testament [...].

It is through this idea of immortality that Egypt stands out most from
other cultures.

Jan Assmann


 Head of Saint Augustine

RF 1640

Denon showcase Room C 32


The teaching that the soul is

immaterial is the result

of a long development of Christian

in the thought of Origen and

Augustine (354-430).

This theologian, Father and Doctor
of the Church, is the author of
and City of God AE36

  Head of Saint Augustine

The concept of the immortality of the soul does not seem biblical. The original words used in the Scriptures (Hebrew nephesh; gr. Psukhê) used about earthly creatures always mean what is material, tangible, visible and mortal. AE35


Carte Chronologie Antiquités OrientalesEncensoir, rituel cultuel égyptien et catholiqueMomie animaux et polythéisme égyptienAntiquités Romaines Haut de page