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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Judgment after Death (Negative Confession)


In Egyptian funerary practices, trials composed a crucial phase through which the deceased had to pass in order to become “justified”—that is, worthy of entering the hereafter. The trials featured in Book of the Dead spells 18 and 20 are representative, the most popular pictorial representation of the judgment after death being the vignette of BD spell 125, the spell proper of which provides a text that summarizes Egyptian ethical standards. There is reason to consider that the text may stem from priestly initiation oaths.

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