Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African American Studies, Africana Women's Studies, and History

First Advisor

Daniel P. Black, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Thomas M. Scott, Th.D.


The purpose of this thesis is to explore Osiris’s role in the Book of the Dead[1] to unearth the ancient Egyptian connotation for the term death. This study contends that western scholars have debased the arcane expression of death to literal interpretation. The basic function of ancient Egyptian scripture was to instruct man’s soul into deity—in the earthly realm. This investigation suggests the ancient Egyptian priesthood instituted this esoteric philosophy in scripture to adumbrate this grand idea death, which was Bes—to be initiated. The third century A.D. witnessed the development of Christianity in northeast Africa and subsequent rise of the Western world, delivering the fatal blow to ancient theology sending the art of esotericism into obscurity for centuries. The discovery of the Rosetta Stone would help to reestablish portions of this lost science. Thus, this inquiry aims to restore the sublime philosophy to the Book of the Dead so that its purpose is properly understood.

[1] The indigenous term for the Book of the Dead is prt m hrw or Book of Coming Forth by Day.