Handbuch der altägyptischen Religion edition:first
The idea that funerary customs originally developed for kings proliferated in the First Intermediate period to the population at large is a key assumption in the study of Egyptian religion; it is usually designated as the 'democratisation of the afterlife'. This article studies the history of the idea; the archaeology of the sources usually mobilised in the debate, penetration of certain pertinent religious texts across the population, etc. to show that the concept is a phantom. A popularisation of funerary religion can be shown not to have taken place in the First Intermedite Period, but threehundred years later, in the Late Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period. At that time, however, what is at stake is not the proliferation of an originally royal funerary religion, but the spread of popular funerary customs to the elite and a corresponding breakdown of traditional funerqry ideas as expressed in the Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts.