Contrary to the popular and current impression, the most important body of sacred literature in Egypt is not the Book of the Dead, but a much older literature which we now call the "Pyramid Texts." These texts, preserved in the Fifth and Sixth Dynasty Pyramids at Sakkara, form the oldest body of literature surviving from the ancient world and disclose to us the earliest chapter in the intellectual history of man as preserved to modern times. They are to the study of Egyptian language and civiliza tion what the Vedas have been in the study of early East Indian and Aryan culture. Discovered in 1880-81, they were published by Maspero in a pioneer edition which will always remain a great achievement and a landmark in the history of Egyptology. The fact that progress hasbeen made in the publication of such epigraphic work is no reflection upon the devoted labors of the distinguished first editor of the Pyramid Texts. The appearance last year of the exhaustive standard edition of the hieroglyphic text at the hands of Sethe after years of study and arrange ment marks a new epoch in the study of earliest Egyptian life and religion.
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