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The Wisdom of Amenemope (also called the Wisdom of Amenemopet, Instruction of Amenemope, or Instructions of Amenemopet) is an ancient Egyptian text that has mostly survived to the present, dating to sometime between 1550 and 1350 BC. It served as an inspiration for several books in the Jewish Tanakh (Christian Old Testament), including the Deuteronomy, Psalms, Proverbs, and the Wisdom of Jesus Sirach which is found in Eastern Orthodox Bibles, and was used by Jews in the Second Temple Period. The most significant influence of Amenemope on the Tanakh is found in the book of Proverbs, which copies some of Amenemope verbatim. The Wisdom of Amenemope was lost for over 2000 years, however, in the late 1800s, several copies were found by Egyptologists both on papyrus and tablets. The various copies all dated to the 21st through 27th dynasties of Egypt, circa 1170 to 500 BC, meaning the Wisdom of Amenemope was in circulation for over 600 years before being lost. It is not clear when exactly it was lost, but it was no longer in circulation by the time the Septuagint was translated at the Library of Alexandria circa 250 BC, and there is no evidence the Library ever acquired a copy of it.

If the biblical story of Solomon is essentially accurate, then his Egyptian wive would have almost certainly given him a copy of the Wisdom of Amenemope, as it carried the name of her father. This was not the Amenemope that wrote the Wisdom of Amenemope, however, it still would have made a good present to a barbarian king she would no doubt want to Egyptianize. The influence of Solomon's wives over his beliefs is a central aspect of his story within the biblical narrative, with the Levites that wrote the surviving versions of the books of Kingdoms (Samuel and Kings) ultimately describing the downfall of the unified kingdom of Israel (Judea and Samaria) as being because of his actions. Yet, he was described as building the first temple in Jerusalem, and so continued to be revered by the Levites.

Whether Solomon existed or not, the Book of Proverbs was compiled by someone who ascribed it to him. This person drew on many ancient sources, but clearly had a copy of the Wisdom of Amenemope in his possession. The fact that the author of Proverbs translated texts directly from Amenemope is not in doubt, and almost all major Christian denominations have recognized the preeminence of the Wisdom of Amenemope on the compilation of Proverbs.

GENRE
Religion & Spirituality
RELEASED
2020
March 28
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
48
Pages
PUBLISHER
Scriptural Research Institute
SIZE
297.2
KB

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