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Monday, September 13, 2021
7:00 PM


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Oriental Institute - Public Education Office


Live class lectures and discussion every Monday on Zoom
Mondays, 7-9pm Central time, September 13–November 1, 2021.These will be recorded and available to watch later.
Instructor: Foy Scalf, Head of the Research Archives and Research Associate, Oriental Institute. Email:
Cost: Non-members ($392), Members ($314), Docents/Volunteers/OI Travellers ($157), UChicago Lab Students, Faculty, and Staff ($98). Not yet a member? Become a member today and save! or add on a membership when you register for this class
The ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead has become a staple of twenty-first century pop culture, appearing in film, literature, music, art, comics, graphic novels, pulp fiction, and endless online videos. However, what does the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead actually say? This course will provide a comprehensive overview to the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, including training with the tools needed to work with the texts and manuscripts directly. The course will cover developmental history, materiality, textual content, sequencing, theology, ritual practice, transmission, and manuscript traditions. We will look closely at original texts in both hieroglyphic transcription and English translation. Students will be guided through selected readings of Book of the Dead spells, using both Egyptian hieroglyphic transcriptions for those who have previously studied Middle Egyptian grammar and English translations for those who have not. By the end of the course, students will gain a nuanced understanding of the differences between ancient and modern conceptions of the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead and will develop the skills necessary to pursue reliable independent research in this area of study.
*Note: This course is not an introduction to Egyptian hieroglyphs and grammar. Students who have completed prerequisite courses will have the opportunity to read and analyze hieroglyphic texts directly. However, no prerequisites are required for this class as the instructor will provide English translations for students who have no prior study of the Egyptian language.