"Research into the so-called “philosophical” Hermetica has long been dominated by the foundational scholarship of André-Jean Festugière, who strongly emphasized their Greek and philosophical elements. Since the late 1970s, this perspective has given way to a new and more complex one, due to the work of another French scholar, Jean-Pierre Mahé, who could profit from the discovery of new textual sources, and called much more attention to the Egyptian and religious dimensions of
The Coffin Texts are called such because they were written on the inside of coffins in order to aid the deceased to fulfill his or her needs in the afterlife. Many of the spells derive from the Old Kingdom (ca. 2686–2181 BCE) Pyramid Texts, which were exclusively the domain of the Pharaohs, but the Coffin Texts were available to anyone who could afford a coffin (like the one pictured). Egyptologists sometimes refer to this development as the “democratization of the afterlife.