Joseph, Ahiqar, and Elephantine: The Joseph Story as Diaspora Novella

Abstract

The possible Egyptian background of the Joseph story has been discussed for decades. While previous research compared the Joseph story to Egyptian texts from the New Kingdom, the present article focuses on material from the 1st millennium BCE. By drawing from the term “diaspora novella,” introduced by Arndt Meinhold in 1975, the present article compares the plot of the Joseph story to two texts connected to Egypt: the story of Ahiqar, which was found at Elephantine, and Papyrus Berlin 23071 vs. In light of these texts, the non-priestly literary layer of the Joseph story appears to be a diaspora novella, presenting a concept of identity that can be connected to the “Judahite/Aramaic” diaspora in Egypt during the Persian period.

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Schipper, B. U., (2018) “Joseph, Ahiqar, and Elephantine: The Joseph Story as Diaspora Novella”, Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 18(1), p.71-84.

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Bernd U. Schipper (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

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