Appeal To A Higher Court

(Apparently the way my life goes I pull these from whatever book is handy because the baby’s asleep on me, more often than anything organised. Oh well!)

Egyptians saw death not as an end but as a transition. Physical death would place them in the immediate neighborhood of the gods, who are only indirectly present on earth. Thus in a text from the same period, one judge concludes: “Behold, I address myself to you with a legal plaint and you will not hear me. I shall go hence and complain to Anubis about you.” The litigant is not saying that he will offer a prayer at the nearest temple of Anubis; rather, he is threatening to commit suicide so as to cross the threshold between indirect and direct access to the gods and thus appeal to divine justice.

– Jan Assmann, The Mind of Egypt


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