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The Instruction of Ptah Hotep and the Instruction of Ke’gemni
Translated by Battiscombe G. Gunn

Publication Date:
List Price: $15.99
Format: Paperback, 66 pages
Classification: Nonfiction
ISBN13: 9781770830639
Imprint: Theophania Publishing
Publisher: Theophania Publishing
Parent Company: Theophania Publishing
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Book Description:

Battiscombe Gunn published his first translation of The Instruction of Ptah-Hotep and The Instruction of Ke’Gemni (from the Prisse Papyrus in Paris) from Egyptian hieroglyphs to English, in 1906. Gunn later said; “I entirely repudiate my translation of the Prisse Papyrus, so far as one can repudiate what is in print.” However, it is still in print, as it is (was) considered the best translation available.

Excerpt

…The bones are painful throughout the body; good turneth unto evil. All taste departeth. These things doeth old age for mankind, being evil in all things. The nose is stopped, and he breatheth not for weakness, whether standing or sitting. “Command me, thy servant, therefore, to make over my princely authority to my son. Let me speak unto him the words of them that hearken to the counsel of the men of old time; those that 42 hearkened unto the gods. I pray thee, let this thing be done, that sin may be banished from among persons of understanding, that thou may enlighten the lands.” Said the Majesty of this God:

  1. “Instruct him, then, in the words of old time; may he be a wonder unto the children of princes, that they may enter and hearken with him. Make straight all their hearts; and discourse with him, without causing weariness.” B. Here begin the proverbs of fair speech, spoken by the Hereditary Chief, the Holy Father,
  2. Beloved of the God, the Eldest Son of the King, of his body, the Governor of his City, the Vezier, Ptah-hotep, when instructing the ignorant in the knowledge of exactness in fair-speaking; the glory of him that obeyeth, the shame of him that transgresseth them.

He said unto his son:
  1. Be not proud because thou art learned; but discourse with the ignorant man, as with the sage. For no limit can be set to skill, neither is there any craftsman that possesseth full advantages. Fair speech is more rare than the emerald that is found by slave-maidens on the pebbles.
  2. If thou find an arguer talking, one that is well disposed and wiser than thou, let thine arms 43 fall, bend thy back, 3 be not angry with him if he agree not with thee. Refrain from speaking evilly; oppose him not at any time when he speaketh. If he address thee as one ignorant of the matter, thine humbleness shall bear away his contentions.
  3. If thou find an arguer talking, thy fellow, one that is within thy reach, keep not silence when he saith aught…



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