Abstracts

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‘Historical Writing’: Definition and Development

John Baines

My presentation arises from contributing to the Oxford History of Historical Writing (in prep.). The first question is what constitutes ‘historical writing’. We need to move away from Eurocentric definitions. In order to take artifacts into account, ‘writing’ should be understood broadly. I focus on the creation of materials for the future that will signify an ordered past. These can be localities, artifacts, and works of visual art, as well as products of script and language, from lists to narrative inscriptions and texts. Discursive syntheses and analyses of the past and past events are not attested, but curation of the present for the past and of the past in the present are widely known. Different genres developed at different paces. Pictorial representation carried the highest prestige. Continuous written texts about events were slow to emerge, reaching the royal domain many centuries after their introduction for elites. Choice of the genre recording the present and the past was itself an object of curation and negotiation.

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Epistemic Meaning and inn Conditionals in Late Egyptian

Mark Collier

Conditional sentences are a productive interdisciplinary area of research in linguistics, philosophy and psychology, perhaps not surprisingly given the imaginative, creative possibilities of ‘if’. In a paper published in LingAeg 14 (2006) I tried to use this background of research to formulate the meaning profile of inn conditionals in Late Egyptian. In the Workshop I intend to update and strengthen this account by focusing on a small number of key examples in detail and to bring out the epistemic strand of meaning expressed in these conditionals.

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Redactional Criticism, Textual Unity and Intertextuality: The Case of Ipuwer and Other Poems

Roland Enmarch

Models of redactional criticism derived from the Biblical and Classical traditions, and positing a single Ur-text, have on many occasions been shown to be problematic when applied to Egyptian literary texts. Nevertheless, much work remains to be done on articulating the Middle Egyptian poems’ relationships to each other: this paper contributes to this field through a case study of repetition used as a structural device in selected Middle Egyptian poems, and considers the significance of the lengthy passages shared by such works as Ipuwer, Man and Ba and the Teaching of Amenemhat. The conclusions point tentatively towards a relative dating of these works within the Middle Egyptian literary corpus.

The Ritual Language of Self-presentation in the Late New Kingdom

Elizabeth Frood

This paper explores how ritual texts and phraseology are integrated with non-royal selfpresentation in the late New Kingdom and early Third Intermediate Period to create domains of personal sacred space and performance. Particularly salient for this topic are groups of stelae and statues from e.g. the Serapeum at Memphis and from Abydos which foreground ritual actions but do not sit comfortably within conventional definitions of biography. The broader iconographic and performative contexts of these texts are crucial both for the religious identities they fashion, and for reassessing our own genre categories and definitions.

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Editing Principles and Practices in Egyptology: Ptahhotep and the New Philology

Fredrik Hagen

The editing of Egyptian literary texts today differs little from the model put forward in our field during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. By using the Instruction of Ptahhotep as a case-study, I intend to demonstrate how recent theoretical advances in neighbouring disciplines can be applied to Egyptian material, and what insights such application can bring. In particular, I will focus on New Philology and what implications the ‘death of the Ur-text’ might have for Egyptological editing practices.

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Bilingual Accounting in an Unpublished Text from Aswan

Rachel Mairs

O. Brooklyn Dem. 180 / O. Brooklyn Gr. 81, an unpublished ostrakon in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, probably from the Aswan quarries and dating to the early Roman period, contains text and figures in both Demotic and Greek. The two languages of the ostrakon have previously been catalogued as if they are entirely separate texts. Further consideration, however, reveals that they relate to the same work project: the Demotic lists over 60 names of workers, and the Greek calculates a total labour cost, which is added to other items of expenditure. While it seems likely that the same scribe was responsible for both the Demotic and the Greek portions of the text, what is less certain is what this implies about the languages of accounting and recordkeeping in the Aswan quarries. It will be suggested that the ‘human resources department’ operated largely in Demotic (perhaps unsurprising in light of the fact that most of the workers’ names are Egyptian), while specific pieces of financial information were extracted to form briefer and more summary Greek financial records.

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Irrealis Conditionals in Demotic

Cary Martin

Irrealis conditionals, or clauses of unfulfilled condition (contrafactual conditionals), are well attested in Late Egyptian and in Coptic. In Demotic, however, which is the term we use for the stage of the Egyptian language that came between these (c. 650 BCE–fifth century CE), the irrealis is only found in the latter part of the period (in Late or Roman Demotic). It is hardly conceivable that the construction ceased to exist for a period of time. Is it the case that we have simply failed to recognise it or was it only indicated through a change in the position or quality of the vowels and is therefore not deducible from the principally consonantal script? The Ramesseum Papyri Project and ‘Material Philology’ Richard Parkinson The paper presents some personal reflections on the manner in which philologists have engaged with Middle Kingdom literary texts, resulting from a BM research project. The paper will discuss the philological habits and attitudes embodied in the modern (professional and non-professional) receptions of two poems from the Ramesseum papyri (Sinuhe and the Eloquent Peasant). Our approaches to these poems as editors, commentators and cultural historians are often characterized by a certain taste for abstraction and ‘scientificity’; we often seem to be, in Raymond Williams’ words ‘trained to detachment … consistently abstracting and generalizing’. As in many disciplines, our editorial practices can arguably be shown ‘to deny differences’ (S. Orgel) — textual, political and social.

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The Applications of Translations

John Tait

In editorial and philological work, translations can be provided to serve any of a number of different purposes — and often several come into play at once. It is not usual to spell out the precise tasks that translations are aiming to perform (indeed, this might be thought obsessively pedantic), and so misunderstandings can and do arise. The awkwardness is compounded when fragmentary material is being handled. The difficulties are plenty when a clearly identified readership is being addressed, but it is unrealistic to suppose that a publication will not be used in diverse ways. A variety of practical examples will be reviewed.

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