Rhode Island Archival and Manuscript Collections Online

For Participating Institutions

Egyptian Book of the Dead fragments (MS.Egyptian Fragments.Group 1)

Brown University Library

Box A
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: Manuscripts: 401-863-3723; University Archives: 401-863-2148
Email: Manuscripts: hay@brown.edu; University Archives: archives@brown.edu

Biographical/Historical note

The Book of the Dead is an ancient Egyptian funerary text, used from the beginning of the New Kingdom (around 1550 BCE) to around 50 BCE. The original Egyptian name for the text, transliterated rw nw prt m hrw is translated as Book of Coming Forth by Day. Another translation would be Book of emerging forth into the Light. "Book" is the closest term to describe the loose collection of texts consisting of a number of magic spells intended to assist a dead person's journey through the Duat, or underworld, and into the afterlife and written by many priests over a period of about 1000 years.

The estate of Lysander Dickerman donated fragments A18901(1) and A18901(2) in 1903. It is not known how Dickerman acquired the fragments. Dickerman was born June 8, 1825 in the city of Brockton, Massachusetts. He died June 8,1901. Rev. Dickerman received his education in the schools of his native town and Phillips Andover Academy. He graduated from Brown University in the class of 1851. Rev. Dickerman was an assistant teacher for a short time at Pierce Academy, Middleboro, Mass. He came to Hampton Falls in February, 1852, and took charge of the Rockingham Academy as principal, where he remained for six terms. As a teacher Mr. Dickerman was very popular and much beloved by his pupils. Under his charge the school numbered from sixty to seventy pupils. He graduated from Andover Theological Seminary in 1857. He settled as a pastor in Weymouth, Mass., and later in Rindge and Walpole. He then spent three years in Egypt and at the German universities of Halle and Berlin. In 1873 he was pastor of a church in Quincy, Massachusetts.