Monday, December 3, 2012

A Fond Farewell

At the end of this month the Book of the Dead Project of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn will end. This was a great project which brought together an extremely talented array of scholars around a project that very much needed doing. In the less than two decades of its existence (since 1995) it assembled a photographic archive of manuscripts of the Book of the Dead from all over the world. It is being disbanded, not because its work is complete but because the original founders of the project have retired and funds to run it have dried up.

In the seventeen years that it has been around, it produced thirteen volumes of publications of individual manuscripts and seventeen volumes of studies (which are available here). Additionally, it produced many articles. Along the way it turned a number of students into first-rate scholars of the Book of the Dead. Sadly many of these are out of a job.

I will miss my association with this project and remarkable group of individuals staffing it and wish them well in their further endeavors. There was over a century of hiatus between the Totenbuchprojekt of Edouard Naville and that of Imrtraut Munro and Ursula Rössler-Köhler. Hopefully there will not be an equal dearth to come.