Sharing Wisdom

Sharing Wisdom

Sharing Wisdom: A Summary of Theories on the Exchange of Wisdom Between the Sayings of the Wise and the Instruction of Amenemope

Damian Dewaine Phillips,  M.Th.
Chairperson: Dr. J. Dwayne Howell


            The purpose of this thesis was to present a summary of theories on the exchange of wisdom literature from Egypt to Israel, in light of the literary relationship between the Instruction of Amenemope and the Hebrew "Sayings of the Wise" in Proverbs.

            In chapter 2 a literary comparison of the Instruction of Amenemope and the "Sayings of the Wise" was undertaken in order to evaluate the possibility of a relationship between the texts. Chapter 3 studied the existence of schools in both ancient Egypt and Israel, and the use of instruction texts in schools, in an effort to find similar characteristics that might point toward a common usage of the Instruction of Amenemope. Chapter 4 conducted a discussion concerning the possibility of the exchange of literature through scribes serving as international messengers, in order to suggest a possible means whereby the Instruction of Amenemope was transmitted from Egypt to Israel. Chapter 5 summarized and evaluated the material presented in the thesis and suggested areas for further study.

            An excursus was conducted which discussed the possibility of literary  transmission  through  elite  emulation. The  theory  of  elite emulation suggests that the inhabitants of Canaan and early Israel
borrowed from the culture of Egypt to symbolize their elite status and legitimate their authority among other nations.