Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Papyrus by I. Puwer

by Cousin Oliver

I am not sure how many of you know what the Ipuwer Papyrus is(I just learned of it recently), but to save you the trip to wiki, it is an Ancient Egyptian poem on papyrus stored in the Netherlands that dates back about 3700 years ago and describes disasters that befell Egypt. This site gives the entire text and displays the references to disasters or plagues while this one just shows the parallels. There are a few ways to try and understand the Ipuwer Papyrus and I will give two popular ones.

First Way To Understand This Document
The Ipuwer Papyrus is a historical text relating the events that took place in Egypt. It reports, as fact, the plagues such as dam (the water turning to blood) and tzifardaiah(the infestation of frogs). It also relates the up rise of the slaves. Basically it is a text that tells the story of Passover via a first person encounter.

Second Way To Understand This Document
Egypt was going through some serious problems and a guy wrote a poem expressing his feelings about the ordeal. The rivers of blood and other plague-like references is merely poetic writing describing the horrible times Egypt went through.

We can't know which of the above is fact but which is more likely- Is Ipuwer Papyrus a historical accurate account or is it poetic interpretation of the times?

After Thought: I realize that if someone doesn't believe the Ipuwer Papyrus to be a literal historical account, it doesn't mean that said someone doesn't believe in the Exodus story.
Side Thought: Maybe it is fiction that made its way into the Torah as fact. Don’t know.

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