What a great book! This is one of the many translation of the Egyptian “Berlin papyrus 3024” which supposedly is 4000 years old. The nameless text is -according to Reed- an initiation text and unfortunately the papyrus was in a state of decay. In the introduction Reed warns that interpretations are nothing more than interpretations. Then follows her translation, very spaciously printed with many images that do not come from the original papyrus, but which sure fit the text. There isn’t so much text to print, so most of the 140 pages are filled with other information than the translation. “What then exactly?”, you may ask. Well, Reed explains how she came to her translation and compares her translation with that of the Egyptologist Faulkner. You immediately see the differences in the translations, so Reed took a part of the original hieroglyphs from the papyrus and shows you how different (combinations of) hieroglyphs can be interpreted in different ways. It is great to see how they work a text in hieroglyphs into our language. After this Reed gives her extremely lenghty and very interesting interpretation of the text and closes off with the complete text in the hieroglyphic language so that other people can make their own translations.
The text itself -then- is about a man who lost the joy in life and who wants to kill himself, but he discusses this intention with his soul. The account of this is archaic, mysterious and quite beautiful.
The text is short enough to have made Reed able to work it out in so much detail. A great insight in the workings of the translation and explanation of an Egyptian text and a very nice text itself too.