Mix and Match: Contextualising the Socio-Cultural Factors of the Late Funerary Literature (Working title)
The corpus of the Late Funerary Literature, seen as the successor of the Pyramid Texts, the Coffin Texts and the Book of the Dead, emerged in various formats in the multicultural society of Graeco-Roman Thebes (332 BC – AD 285). My research will focus on an important part of this Late Funerary Literature, namely the Documents of Breathing (tA Sa.t n snsn). They designate a wide range of texts and were used as a sort of recommendation letter for the deceased in the afterlife as they were placed on the mummy which they protected. Although several fine studies have been done on this particular type of literature, they have significant shortcomings regarding the socio-cultural context. My PhD will implement the texts within the framework of the funerary business of Theban priests, the religious places these priests frequented and the socio-economic context in which they functioned. As funerary literature had been at the heart of the Theban mortuary practices for centuries, my research will investigate how such a crucial religious tradition was still standing in a society controlled by ethnic foreigners.
The main focus of my PhD are the beneficiaries of the Late Funerary Literature. These people, usually priests, belonged to temple personnel serving in various Theban cults. A prosopography and classification of the owners will be established, taking into account the families they belonged to, the titles they were carrying and the religious festivals in which they functioned. The same attestations of people, titles, cults and festivals in documentary papyri and on funerary assemblages originating from the Theban area will be collected to research the socio-cultural context in which the beneficiaries of the documents were working. At last, my PhD will determine the extent to which the priests and their religious activities can be geographically linked.