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  • Egypt (click here to focus in map) (see also Pleiades #766)
    Pleiades_icon Aegyptus province, region Geocontext: Egypt
    Description: The Roman province of Egypt (Aegyptus) was established in 30 BC after the defeat of Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra VII at the Battle of Actium.


Text #9000

"Ipuwer Papyrus", in Wikipedia.

The Ipuwer Papyrus is a single papyrus holding an ancient Egyptian poem, called The Admonitions of Ipuwer or The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All. Its official designation is Papyrus Leiden I 344 recto.

The Ipuwer Papyrus describes Egypt as afflicted by natural disasters and in a state of chaos, a topsy-turvy world where the poor have become rich, and the rich poor, and warfare, famine and death are everywhere. One symptom of this collapse of order is the lament that servants are leaving their servitude and acting rebelliously. There is a dispute around interpretations of the document as an Egyptian account of the events described in the Exodus.

The date for the composition of this document is unknown. The papyrus itself (Papyrus Leiden I 344) is a copy made during the New Kingdom of Egypt[1] (18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties, c.1543-1064 BCE). The dating of the original composition of the poem is disputed, but several scholars have suggested a date between the late 6th dynasty and the Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1850 BCE-1600 BCE).

Both the Exodus and Thera interpretations (which can be combined with each other, and sometimes are) interpret the poem to record a historical event, which is disputed by some Egyptologists.

The association of the Ipuwer Papyrus with the Exodus as describing the same event is rejected by most Egyptologists. … While Enmarch himself rejects synchronizing the texts of the Ipuwer Papyrus and The Book of Exodus on grounds of historicity, in The reception of a Middle Egyptian poem: The Dialogue of Ipuwer he acknowledges that there are some textual parallels “particularly the striking statement that ‘the river is blood and one drinks from it’ (Ipuwer 2.10), and the frequent references to servants abandoning their subordinate status (e.g. Ipuwer 3.14–4.1; 6.7–8; 10.2–3). On a literal reading, these are similar to aspects of the Exodus account.” … Commenting on such attempts to draw parallels, he writes that “all these approaches read Ipuwer hyper-literally and selectively” and points out that there are also conflicts between Ipuwer and the biblical account, such as Ipuwer‍ ’​s lamentation of an Asiatic (Semitic) invasion rather than a mass departure. 1

  1. R. Enmarch: The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All, The Griffith Institute, Griffith Institute Publications, Oxford 2005

Text #9001

Editorial comment by Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Emmarch’s remark that Ipuwer complained about an Asiatic invasion of Egypt is interesting. One wonders if the Asiatics/Semitics fled to Egypt during the 2300 BC event and then fled out of Egypt during the 1650 BC eruption of Thera event. However, if the time period between the two events has been artificially extended by muddled attempts of Egyptologists to date dynasties and failing to consider concurrent dynasties, it’s difficult to know the length of time the Asiatics spent in Egypt. It may actually be something like 450 years as claimed in the Old Testament.

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