Swartz Hall, room118, 45 Francis Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138, Cambridge, MA 02138
Harvard Divinity School
Prof. Bernd Schipper, Humboldt University of Berlin, HDS Visiting Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament:
“From Amenemope to Ankhsheshonqi: Prov 22:17–24:22 and Egyptian Wisdom“
It has been widely accepted that the third part of the Book of Proverbs (22:17–24:22) shows close similarities to the Egyptian Instruction of Amenemope. What is still under debate, however, is the question of how to explain the literary technique of the author of Proverbs. Moreover, if one looks at the actual parallels, there is no doubt that the similarities between Prov 22:17–24:22 and Amenemope end with Prov 23:11.
The first section of this paper will demonstrate that the literary technique used by the author of Prov 22:17–23:11 can be found in the Egyptian wisdom tradition. It will then show that, whereas Prov 22:17–23:11 relies on the Instruction of Amenemope, Prov 23:12–24:22 is ultimately a piece of “scribal wisdom” that combines motifs from different instructions with a particular focus on the Demotic Instruction of Ankhsheshonqi. The final part of the paper will present a possible socio-historical background for the “Egyptian Instruction” of Prov 22:17–24:22.