Positive Progress Through The Benevolent Use Of Knowledge

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Origins Pt 2

Spell 125 in the Book of the Dead provides what Egyptologist refer to as the "negative confession" or "declaration of innocence" so that the deceased could announce his innocence before the forty-two who were the assessors that judged the dead in the netherworld Hall of Justice, also known as the "Hall of the Two Truths". Hence, this spell takes the form of an address to each of these "judgment gods", who is named along with the specific plea before each god. These names of these gods were listed, together with an identification that was either a geographical region or some other identifying characteristic.


The tribunal of assessor gods is frequently depicted in the illustrations accompanying Chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead, though only occasionally are all forty-two gods represented at once. More commonly, a representative selection of the gods is made, normally in the squatting position common to "seated god" hieroglyph, or standing. Sometimes they may hold knives, and at other times the feathers of ma'at as symbols of their judicial power.


Above and Below, from Chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead in the Papyrus of Ani




These forty-two gods apparently were believed to judge all forms of evil, though some might overlap to some extent. For example, two gods represented robbery and stealing, respectively, but apparently stealing offerings, food and bread specifically each deserved the attention of an individual member of the tribunal. It is my guess this is also where the catholic church got the ideal of the Confession booth. The forty two gods where in confessor chambers lined in a row.

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