Monday, July 28, 2008

Teaching of Amenemope

It is commonly held that Proverbs 22:17-24:22 is dependent on the Egyptian wisdom text The Teaching (or Instruction) of Amenemope. This view is summarized as follows: "As has long been recognized, the first subsidiary collection (22:17-23:11) is closely related to the Egyptian Instruction of Amen-em-opet, which probably dates between the tenth and sixth centuries BC. The introductory poem (22:17-21) and the ten themes discussed (22:22-23:11) follow--often word for word--their Egyptian source. Even the division of this source into thirty chapters ("houses") seems to have been borrowed by the Israelite redactor for the entire collection 22:17-24:22 (cf. 22:20, where the RSV correctly reads "thirty sayings" for the Hebrew "day before yesterday" or "adjutants"). The redactor was not, however, a mere translator; he used a third of the Egyptian Instruction to produce an anthology that treats the themes in a different order; in 22:26-27 he has interpolated a saying of his own. The borrowing may have taken place toward the end of the Israelite monarchy." (Quoted from Introduction to the Old Testament by Georg Fohrer, Abingdon Press, 1968, p. 321.

The arguments for Proverbs' dependence on this Egyptian source are thus: 1) The Hebrew material in 22:17-23:11 often follows the Egyptian source word for word. 2) The "thirty chapters" of the Egyptian text is reflected in the arrangement of the Hebrew text. 3) The Hebrew word translated "excellent things" in the KJV ought to be translated "thirty." Whether this data is sufficient to support the conclusion will be examined in our next few postings.

4 comments:

art said...

I look forward to your future posts on this issue.

BertiKona said...

Hi Dr. Shaw,

I have one unrelated question to this post. What would have been some of the Jewish commentators that Calvin would have read and reacted with in writing his OT Commentaries? Is there any particular school of thought or any particular book that I can read to learn more about this?

Thanks you Dr. Shaw,

In Christ
Berti Kona

dahildz said...

i wonder what was the religion of amenomopet. Was he a member of Judaism???

dahildz said...

i am not contented with your info