Black Spirituality Religion : The Instruction of Ptah-Hotep

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Akilah, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. Akilah

    Akilah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The Instruction of Ptah-Hotep is the most ancient complete literary work existing. It was written in the Fifth Egyptian Dynasty, 3580 B.C. to 3536 B.C. In this papyrus book, Ptah-Hotep sets down the rules of behavior that all wise men should convey to their sons.

    The first five instructions :

    1. Take No False Pride In Education
    2. Rules for Courteous Debate
    3. Set a Good Example
    4. Follow the Path of Truth
    5. Obey the Law

    http://www.kenseamedia.com/encyclopedia/ppp/instructions_ptah_hotep.htm

    I found this site very enlightening...please share your thoughts !

    Hotepu ~
     
  2. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I would say, this is sound advice :)
     
  3. SAMURAI36

    SAMURAI36 Banned MEMBER

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    PEACE AKILAH:

    I don't know if you remember, but I posted the MAXIMS in another thread of yours, about "Togetherness".

    http://destee.com/forums/showpost.php?p=344056&postcount=5
     
  4. info-moetry

    info-moetry STAFF STAFF

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    :bowdown: Peace Queen!
     
  5. Akilah

    Akilah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Oh goodness...

    Brutha Samurai36,

    You sure did... ya know I copied that (5 pages) and took it with me to work to read during lunch breaks etc... and do you know I haven't really had a chance to look at it yet ???

    I've basically been working through my breaks :pc: :geek: :fyi:
     
  6. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Wisdom Literature

    And Other Text of Ancient Egypt
    Revisited
    Original Article by Marie Parsons

    ....A better term for this category would be "didactic", rather than wisdom, literature. Didactic literature includes those texts the purposes of which are to inform, teach or persuade. "Instruction," or [sebayt], does not fully cover all the texts that are more accurately called didactic. The entire genre include the maxims such as Ptahhoteps, the complaints, such as the Eloquent Peasant, the laments, such as Ipuwer, the prophecy of Neferti, and the testament, such as that of Amenemhet....

    ....The literature fall into three categories. The first and oldest are the maxims for living, in which the author records his advice to a son (e.g. Ptahhotep) for a proper and successful life. In the maxims category of the literature, the father is shown passing wisdom to his son. The father is old and famous, at the end of a successful career in public office, in the kings service. He wants to pass on the knowledge and experience he has gained to his son and to later generations. Since the speaker held public office, his experience is primarily in public matters, how to debate, how to be a successful member at court, how to win promotion, how to please a superior.

    The maxims include a range of advice, from correct behavior in social situations to proper conduct toward superior and subordinates. Their purpose is the transmission of Maat, right and proper behavior, both for its own sake and as the key to a happy and successful life. The individual who lives according to Maat is often described as "the still man" or "the silent man" that is, the calm and effacing person or the knowledgeable man, as opposed to the fool. The antithesis of the "silent man" is the "heated man." The silent man is not so much taciturn as thoughtful, temperate, and judicious, one who insists upon taking a moment or more to reflect upon the situation before reacting to the words and actions of the "hothead" who confronts him. This is seen at its best in the Instructions of Amenemope.

    The earliest of these are attributed to three officials of the Old Kingdom, though the actual extant manuscripts date only to the Middle Kingdom and are written in that form of the hieroglyphs. The first of these officials was an unnamed vizier instructing his sons, one of whom, named Kagemni, became vizier under King Sneferu in the 4th Dynasty.

    The Instruction for Kagmeni is fragmentary. Only its conclusion survives. It is set in the time of Kings Huni and Sneferu of the 3rd and 4th Dynasties.

    A portion of its text is herein: "the submissive man prospers, the moderate man is praisedthe place of the contented man is wide."

    The second official was Hardjedef or Djedefhor, son of Sneferus successor Khufu.

    The Maxims of Hordjedef/Djedefhor is a fragmentary text set in the time of King Khufu of the 4th Dynasty, composed by his son for his son. This text offered in part, "Reprove yourself in your own eyes, take care that another man does not reprove you."

    The third official was Ptahhotep, a vizier of King Izezi in Dynasty 6.

    The Maxims of Ptahhotep is the most complete of these Maxims. It consists of a prologue, 37 maxims and an epilogue. Though the text is set in the Old Kingdom period, its provenance actually dates much later.) Ptahhotep advises on behavior toward ones wife, towards ones guests and as a guest, but perhaps the most intriguing and more philosophical portions concern conduct in a public forum. For example, a portion advises, "If you find a disputant arguing, a humble man who is not your equal, do not be aggressive against him in proportion as he is humble, let him alone, that he may confute himself. Do not question him in order to relieve your feelings, do not vent yourself against your opponent, for wretched is he who would destroy him who is poor of understanding."

    The Instructions of Amenemope, dating also to the New Kingdom, is attributed to a high official in the ministry of agriculture. The father advocates a life of devotion to moral conduct and public service, grounded in religious belief. Portions of this text have been interpreted as having parallels to the Biblical Proverbs 22:17 and 24:22. Another portion therein says, "Something else of value in the heart of God is to stop and think before speakingThe hote-headed manmay you be restrained before him. Leave him to himself, and God will know how to answer him"

    Several later instructions also belong in the advice category. One of these is the "Instruction of a Man for his Son", which apparently dates to the Middle Kingdom. It is fragmentary, ending abruptly, or at least missing its conclusion. But a part of it again extols the virtue of being "the silent man" "Acquire a good character without transgressing, for laziness on the part of the wise man does not happen. A silent just man, obedient and well disposed of mind"

    Another is the Loyalist Instruction from the Sehetibre Stela. The Stela itself dates from the 12th Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom, though some of its extant copies date from the New Kingdom, and is attributed to a high-ranking noble addressing his children. It praises the king and advises the children to follow and serve him, and then gives advice on managing the servants on the estates. The text is notable for its extolling of the king, calling him by the names of the gods Re, Khnum, Sekhmet and Bast, as he cares for the Two Lands. It holds the king up as one who cares for those too who are obedient to him.

    A third example herein is the Instruction of Khety, also known as the Satire of Trades. The speaker is accompanying his son to scribal school, and tells his son of the value of education for the betterment of his career and life. After he describes to his son the negatives of some other occupations such as fisherman, bricklayer, and sandalmaker (these are occupations, not careers, not professions, and they involve physical labor and working under some overseer), the father repeats advice given by Ptahhotep and Kagemni in their earlier works. He adds this, "Do not utter thoughtless words when you sit down with an angry man."

    A second type of wisdom literature deals with the proper conduct of the kingship. This category includes two texts supposedly written by kings for their successors.

    The Instruction for Merikare is addressed to a King of the 10th Dynasty by his father, and may date to the First Intermediate Period. It is a mixture of advice for the son in governing well, rewarding talent rather than noble blood, and is mixed with historical narrative, ending with a hymn to the Creator God. The text is notable for its possible reference to the myth of the Destruction of Mankind in the Book of the Divine Cow. It also extols the virtues of being wise in speech rather than in action. "Be skillful in speech, that you may be strongit is the strength of the tongue, and words are braver than all fighting."


    The Instruction of Amenemhat contains advice of the first King of the 12th Dynasty, Amenemhet I, to his son and successor Senusret I.

    The Instructions for Amenemhet is also a royal instruction, but primarily takes the form of a testament. The "author" is the ghost of King Amenemhet I returning to speak to his son Senusret I on governing well, but mostly is a bitter justification of his fathers policies while alive and a jaundiced warning to trust no one. This latter is based upon a palace coup that may have resulted in his death. The text is fragmentary, with the third page of the manuscript having been destroyed except for the beginnings of the lines....

    ...continued here: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/wisdom.htm
     
  7. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    One of the Earliest Surviving Documents Written on Papyrus (Circa 2,000 BCE)

    The Prisse Papyrus, dating from the Egyptian Middle Kingdom, has been called the earliest known document written on papyrus.

    It contains the last two pages of the Instruction addressed to Kagemni....The conclusion of the Instruction addressed to Kagemni is followed by the only complete surviving copy of the Instruction of Ptahhotep.

    The papyrus was obtained by the French orientalist Achille Constant Théodore ÉmilePrisse d'Avennes at Thebes in 1856. It is preserved in the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

    http://www.historyofinformation.com/expanded.php?id=2410
     
  8. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    "Wisdom" or didactic books of the Bible:

    Job
    Psalms
    Proverbs
    Ecclesiastes
    Song of Solomon
     
  9. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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  10. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Yes, scholars do agree that the Book of Proverbs has large similarities to the "Instructions of Amenemopet."

    However, these "instructions" [sebayt (wisdom/didactic teachings)] come from the 18th/19th/or 20th dynasties.

    The "Instructions of Ptah Hotep" come from a 12th dynasty copy (the Prisse Payrus) which attributes Ptah Hotep's maxims to the 5th dynasty.

     
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