literature

“Ancient Egyptian Thought in the Old Testament” Lorna Oakes (EEG Meeting Talk)

At the beginning of August Lorna Oakes came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about the parallels between Ancient Egyptian literary sources and the Old Testament. In her lecture she covered several sorts of literature including myths, legends, hymns & prayers and prophecy. Oakes started with myths, and began at the beginning with creation stories. She pointed out that these aren’t “just stories”, for the Ancient Egyptians (and the writers of the Old Testament) these were serious reflections on their origins. The Egyptians had several creation stories – even as early as the Pyramid Texts of the Old Kingdom there were at least two variants with the god Atum bringing the gods Shu & Tefnut into being by sneezing or by using his semen. The closest variant to the Old Testament creation story is called the Memphite Theology and the text is known from a large granite… Read More »“Ancient Egyptian Thought in the Old Testament” Lorna Oakes (EEG Meeting Talk)

“The Eloquent Peasant” Linda Steynor (EEG Meeting Talk)

On Sunday Linda Steynor came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about a Middle Kingdom Egyptian poem called “The Eloquent Peasant”. She started her talk by telling us the plot of the story. This poem follows an Egyptian small market trader, Khunanup, who travels from his home on the outskirts of Egypt to the capital. The journey is not easy, and on his way there he has to travel along a very narrow path between the Nile and the farmlands. Partway along he meets a bully who has hung his washing across the path – in order to get past Khunanup accidentally walks on the washing (and his donkey eats a small amount of grain). The bully beats him, and confiscates his donkey & goods, an over the top response to such a minor transgression. Khunanup continues on to the capital where he petitions Rensi, the Chief… Read More »“The Eloquent Peasant” Linda Steynor (EEG Meeting Talk)

In Our Time: The Tale of Sinuhe

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On Sunday we listened to the most recent In Our Time episode – jumping ahead from where we’re caught up to because the subject of this weeks one was something J had been looking forward to hearing. The programme was about one of the surviving pieces of Middle Kingdom literature, called The Tale of Sinuhe. The three experts discussing it were Richard Parkinson (University of Oxford), Roland Enmarch (University of Liverpool) and Aidan Dodson (University of Bristol). They started off by putting it into historical context. The oldest version of The Tale of Sinuhe that’s been found was written around 1800BC (and was discovered approximately 4000 years later). This is during the Middle Kingdom era of Egyptian history, and the story is set about a hundred years earlier, still within the Middle Kingdom, near the start of the 12th Dynasty. The Middle Kingdom is the second period of stability in… Read More »In Our Time: The Tale of Sinuhe