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The Dialogue Between Two Scribes (1.184)

(956 words)

Author(s): Vanstiphout, H. L. J.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; School Dialogues Commentary This provisionally fragmentary1 composition focuses on the competition between two scribes, one being more advanced than the other, and using his seniority to bully and insult the younger one — after which the teacher, apparently a stickler for school tradition, takes the side of the senior student (the “Big Brother”). But in the meantime we learn a number of practical and meth…

Hittite Proverbs (1.80)

(507 words)

Author(s): Beckman, Gary
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Proverbs Commentary The sayings and generalizing anecdotes by which the Hittites expressed the received wisdom of their civilization were not collected for use in scribal instruction as was the practice in earlier Mesopotamia, but are rather to be found scattered throughout texts of various types. The following is a selection of proverbs and proverbial allusions: Hittite Proverbs (1.80) Subject: Jer 31:29; Ezek 18:2 1. [ In a prayer, a queen addresses the chief godd…

The Famine Stela (1.53)

(3,441 words)

Author(s): Lichtheim, Miriam
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Pseudepigrapha Commentary The inscription is carved in thirty–two columns on the face of a granite rock where it was given the shape of a rectangular stela. The rock face is split by a broad horizontal fissure, which already existed when the inscription was carved. After the carving, further ruptures occurred in the rock, and they have caused a number of textual lacunae. Above the text is a relief scene showing King Djoser offering to Khnum–Re, Satis, and Anukis, the gods of the cataract region. The stela purports to be a decree by King Djoser of the Third Dynasty addressed to a “Governor of…

The Poem of the Righteous Sufferer (1.153)

(3,623 words)

Author(s): Foster, Benjamin R.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Ca…

“Man and His God” (1.179)

(1,742 words)

Author(s): Klein, Jacob
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Pious Sufferer Compositions Commentary This Sumerian poem, of about 140 lines, tells a didactic story of a righteous …

Sinuhe (1.38)

(5,660 words)

Author(s): Lichtheim, Miriam

Instructions to Commanders of Border Garrisons (Bel Madgalti) (1.84)

(2,980 words)

Author(s): McMahon, Gregory
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Instructions Commentary An essential element in Hittite administration of provinces was the auriyaš išḫaš, literally “lord of the watch tower/ guard post,”1 often written with the Akkadogram BEL MADGALTI. This was the officer in charge of garrisons and administration in sensitive frontier provinces of the empire. The Hittite term is often translated “border governor”; Hoffner has proposed “margrave,” which implies the idea of governors assigned to fr…

The Babylonian Theodicy (1.154)

(1,853 words)

Author(s): Foster, Benjamin R.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; …

Cairo Love Songs (1.50)

(231 words)

Author(s): Fox, Michael V.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Canonical Compositions; …

Proverbs Quoted In Other Genres (1.175)

(638 words)

Author(s): Alster, Bendt
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; …

Dua-khety or the Satire On the Trades (1.48)

(2,454 words)

Author(s): Lichtheim, Miriam
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Instructions …

The Prophecies of Neferti (1.45)

(3,025 words)

Author(s): Shupak, Nili
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; “Prophecy” Commentary The single complete version of this composition is preserved on Pap. Petersburg 1116B which derives from the 18th Dynasty. This is augmented by fragments preserved on writing tablets and ostraca. “The Prophecies of Neferti” is a political document which was apparently composed in the court of the King Amenemhet I (1990–1960 bce) who is here cast in the role of a redeemer-king. The text is introduced by a narrative frame, setting th…

School Dialogues (1.SU.C.6)

(287 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus 6. School Dialogues This section has been included for a very special reason. The Scriptural parallels here might be are few in number, and inherently vacuous, if not nugatory. And that is precisely the point: the rich ‘school literature’ in Sumerian from Old Babylonian Mesopotamia shows a striking and very meaningful contrast between the two cultures. In the Mesopotamian case the perception, ordering and…

Love Poems (C.4)

(167 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus 4. Love Poems The extant Egyptian love song texts all date from the 19th dynasty (ca. 1305–1200 bce) and the early 20th dynasty (ca. 1200–1150 bce). The songs’ composition too seems to date from the Ramesside period. They are collected on large papyri or inscribed on ostraca. They are sometimes labelled “Entertainment” (lit. “diverting the heart”) and probably served to entertain guests at banquets. Numer…

The Dialogue Between A Supervisor and A Scribe (1.185)

(1,143 words)

Author(s): Vanstiphout, H. L. J.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; School Dialogues Commentary This piece is not unlike the preceding one in that it consists of an altercation between a senior and a junior member of the Eduba. Still, the relationship is subtly different: the senior one is not just a more mature student, but a regular supervisor (an UGULA). He submits the pupil, who is obviously aspiring to higher things at this moment, to a kind of examination which dea…

Shuruppak (1.176)

(1,024 words)

Author(s): Alster, Bendt
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Instructions Commentary In addition to the standard version of this composition, dating around 1900–1800 BCE, an Early Dynastic version dating as early as 2600–2500 BCE, and two partly preserved Akkadian translations, one dating around 1500 BCE, and one dating around 1100 BCE, are known. The excerpts translated here are from the standard version, attested in approximately 80 fragments from Nippur and Ur…

Ostracon Gardiner 304 (1.52)

(227 words)

Author(s): Fox, Michael V.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Love Poems Commentary A number of ostraca, mostly written as school exercises, hold love songs or phrases typical of love songs. This ostracon dates to the reign of Ramses III (ca. 1182–1151 bce). Ostracon Gardiner 304 (1.52) Subject: Cant 8:1; Cant 4:9 ( Boy) ( Number 54)My sister’s love is in the …Her necklace is of flowers;her bones are reeds.Her little seal–ring is [on her finger],her lotus in her hand.I kiss [her] before everyone,that they may see my love.1  j Indeed it is…
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