Thoughts about the Papyrus Westcar

Thoughts about the Papyrus Westcar ZÄS 120 (1993)H. G o e d i c k e : Papyrus WestcarHANS23GOEDICKEThoughts about the Papyrus WestcarThe Papyrus Westcar, acquired in 1838/39 by Richard Lepsius from Henry Westcar, wasthe matrix from which Adolf Erman established the principles of ancient Egyptian grammar 1 .Although generations of prospective Egyptologists were initiated into ancient Egyptian philology by reading and studying this text, it nevertheless is something of an enigma. Until nowthe text has been available in only one copy2, and no parallels have come to light among thenumerous ostraca which have become known. Despite the badly preserved beginning and theabrupt ending, suggesting that there was once more to the text3, there are no major philologicalproblems attached to it. However, if one poses as a premise that the notion of l'art pour l'art,i.e. the self-fulfilling creation of a piece of art or literature, is not appropriate for ancient Egypt,the question of what its "Sitz im Leben" had been requires pondering.It is widely held that the Papyrus Westcar is a more or less random collection of ramblingstories for entertainment, and comparisons with the "Arabian Nights" have been made4. Erman5had earlier emphasized the difference of the language used in comparison with the Story ofSinuhe http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Zs für Ägypt. Sprache und Altertumskunde de Gruyter

Thoughts about the Papyrus Westcar

Zs für Ägypt. Sprache und Altertumskunde, Volume 120 (1): 14 – Jan 1, 1993

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2014 Akademie Verlag GmbH, Markgrafenstr. 12-14, 10969 Berlin.
ISSN
2196-713X
eISSN
2196-713X
DOI
10.1524/zaes.1993.120.1.23
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ZÄS 120 (1993)H. G o e d i c k e : Papyrus WestcarHANS23GOEDICKEThoughts about the Papyrus WestcarThe Papyrus Westcar, acquired in 1838/39 by Richard Lepsius from Henry Westcar, wasthe matrix from which Adolf Erman established the principles of ancient Egyptian grammar 1 .Although generations of prospective Egyptologists were initiated into ancient Egyptian philology by reading and studying this text, it nevertheless is something of an enigma. Until nowthe text has been available in only one copy2, and no parallels have come to light among thenumerous ostraca which have become known. Despite the badly preserved beginning and theabrupt ending, suggesting that there was once more to the text3, there are no major philologicalproblems attached to it. However, if one poses as a premise that the notion of l'art pour l'art,i.e. the self-fulfilling creation of a piece of art or literature, is not appropriate for ancient Egypt,the question of what its "Sitz im Leben" had been requires pondering.It is widely held that the Papyrus Westcar is a more or less random collection of ramblingstories for entertainment, and comparisons with the "Arabian Nights" have been made4. Erman5had earlier emphasized the difference of the language used in comparison with the Story ofSinuhe

Journal

Zs für Ägypt. Sprache und Altertumskundede Gruyter

Published: Jan 1, 1993

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