KMT – Papyrus of Ani – 42 Negative Confessions

Ani - Weighing of the HeartPapyrus of Ani

In Kemet, the priests often compiled an individualized book for each ruler at their death, called the “Book of Going Forth by Day”. This book is more commonly known as the Book of the Dead. It usually contained declarations and spells to help the deceased in their afterlife. The “Book of the Dead” for scribe Ani from Thebes is the manuscript called the Papyrus of Ani.

This aspect of African funerary literature which is often mistaken for a codified ethic of Ma’at, is Spell (Chapter) 125 of the Book of the Dead or Papyrus of Ani. The lines of this spell are often collectively called the “Forty-Two Declarations of Purity” or the 42 Negative Confessions.

These declarations varied somewhat from tomb to tomb. Seemingly depending on the time of reign. They also appear to express each tomb owner’s individual conception of Ma’at, as well as working as a magical absolution—misdeeds or mistakes made by the tomb owner in life could be declared as not having been done, and through the power of the written word, wipe that particular misdeed from the afterlife record of the deceased.

Many of the lines are similar, however, and they can help to give the student a “flavor” for the sorts of things which Ma’at governed — essentially everything, from the most formal to the most mundane aspects of life.

The doctrine of Ma’at is represented in the declarations to Rekhti-merti-f-ent-Maat and the 42 Confessions listed in the Papyrus of Ani.

Papyrus of Ani

1. I have not committed sin.
2. I have not committed robbery with violence.
3. I have not stolen.
4. I have not slain men and women.
5. I have not stolen grain.
6. I have not purloined offerings.
7. I have not stolen the property of the god.
8. I have not uttered lies.
9. I have not carried away food.
10. I have not uttered curses.
11. I have not committed adultery, I have not lain with men.
12. I have made none to weep.
13. I have not eaten the heart [i.e. I have not grieved uselessly, or felt remorse].
14. I have not attacked any man.
15. I am not a man of deceit.
16. I have not stolen cultivated land.
17. I have not been an eavesdropper.
18. I have slandered [no man].
19. I have not been angry without just cause.
20. I have not debauched the wife of any man.
21. I have not debauched the wife of [any] man. [Repeat, but addressed to a different god.]
22. I have not polluted myself.
23. I have terrorised none.
24. I have not transgressed [the Law].
25. I have not been wroth.
26. I have not shut my ears to the words of truth.
27. I have not blasphemed.
28. I am not a man of violence.
29. I am not a stirrer up of strife (or a disturber of the peace).
30. I have not acted (or judged) with undue haste.
31. I have not pried into matters.
32. I have not multiplied my words in speaking.
33. I have wronged none, I have done no evil.
34. I have not worked witchcraft against the King (or blasphemed against the King).
35. I have never stopped [the flow of] water.
36. I have never raised my voice (spoken arrogantly, or in anger).
37. I have not cursed (or blasphemed) god.
38. I have not acted with evil rage.
39. I have not stolen the bread of the gods.
40. I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the Spirits of the dead.
41. I have not snatched away the bread of the child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city.
42. I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god.

Source: https://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/Maat
See: The Book of the Dead. Gramercy. 1995, pp. 576–582.


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6 thoughts on “KMT – Papyrus of Ani – 42 Negative Confessions

  1. thesevenminds February 9, 2013 at 10:32 pm Reply

    The principle that governs the “True Kemite” is Ma’at–a religious principle which is more than justice, it is Divine-Justice, personified in Maat, who exemplifies the eternal laws of the universe as, Right and Truth.

    In the weighing of the wrongs man does in this life against the intent of his heart, Ma’at makes a distinction between sins and transgressions. A sin is a violation of the laws of the the Creator. That is, laws pertain to the ordinances and requirements which the Creator has given for worship. This also extends to the commitment one makes to the Neteru and the respect one holds for their gifts. Transgressions on the other hand, are offenses against our fellow mortals, their possessions, or the earth–or that portion of the earth on which we live. Thus, one sins against the Creator, but one transgresses against mortals.

    Egyptologists have termed these principles “Negative Confessions” because they usually begin with the negative, “I have not.” In the principles of Right and Truth, they are in fact affirmations of what one has not done in his life to live by Maat.


  2. […] Article sur le sujet, en lien avec le papyrus d’Ani : […]

  3. […] See also: 7W – 42 Negative Confessions […]

  4. […] As was stated earlier, the states of consciousness antecedent to the Arutef, have been delineated in the olden writings such as the Papyrus of Sesh (scribe) Ani. […]

  5. […] as set for in the 42 Negative Confessions.  They’re kind of like the ten commandments, but forty-two of them.  This isn’t my favorite translation of them, but it gives you an idea.  By living by these […]

  6. […] See also: 7W – 42 Negative Confessions […]

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