The tradition of Ahiqar, the wise scribe and counsellor at the court of the Assyrian kings Sennaherib and Esarhaddon, is known from many versions, older and more recent ones, which together embrace a narrative tradition of more than 2500 years. The story and the proverbs are attested in Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic (Arabian Nights), Armenian, Turkish, Georgian, Rumanian, Old Church Slavonic, Serbian and Russian translations, which differ in structure, in length, and in many details (in addition, there are fragments of translations in demotic and Ethiopian). References to the Ahiqar tradition are also made in many early sources, the most important of which is probably the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit. This work, which is principally known from Aramaic and Hebrew fragments from Qumran, and from the Greek and Latin versions, shows intimate familiarity with the story of Ahiqar. In this contribution, the literary tradition of the story and the proverbs of the Ahiqar tradition is told, with the main focus on the earliest known version, the Aramaic version from the 5th century BCE. This version of the story and the proverbs was unearthed at the island of Elephantine (Upper Egypt), which at the time counted an Aramaic speaking group of Judeans among its population. Our journey ends with a version of the story told by the last native speaker of a now extinct dialect of Neo-Aramaic.
|Translated title of the contribution||The Ahiqar Tradition.|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Amsterdamse Cahiers voor Exegese van de Bijbel en Zijn Tradities|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
- Ahiqar - Aramaic - Bible - Tobit - Wisdom