Thursday, October 16, 2008

Amenemope 3

The previous post deserves a number of explanatory comments.

First, I listed the parallels following the order of Amenemope. The careful reader will note that this does not match the order of verses in Proverbs. If Proverbs really was literarily dependent on Amenemope, why the radical changes in sequence?

Second, Proverbs 22:17-23:11 consists of 24 verses. The full section is actually Proverbs 22:11-24:22, which is 70 verses, but there are no parallels to Amenemope in 23:12-24:22. Amenemope itself runs about 230 lines. If this section of Proverbs were dependent of Amenemope, would there not be more and more frequent parallels. In fact, only about one-fifth of the whole section "The Words of the Wise" (22:11-24:22) is paralleled by Amenemope. Even if one limits the Proverbs material to 22:17-23:11, only about 60% of the material is parallel. This does not make a strong case for literary dependence, or even necessarily familiarity.

Third, even a casual reading makes it clear that some of the parallels are strained. See especially, nos. 2, 5, 6, 8, and 10. More than a third of the "parallels" are at best questionable.

Fourth, you don't see this, and most of the commentators don't mention it, but the Pritchard text of Amenemope lists sixteen parallels between Amenemope and passages in Proverbs outside the bounds of that section supposedly dependent on Amenemope, some of which are parallels to passages in other books of the Bible.

All of this combined leads to the conclusion that Proverbs was not literarily dependent on Amenemope.

No comments: