An idiot abroad

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The mound of ancient Joppa provides a view toward the steel and glass of modern Tel Aviv. It is garden-like.

Another link between Joppa (Yafo) and its literary legacy bears mention. Satire leaks out of a letter of New Kingdom Egypt (19th dynasty) often called Papyrus Anastasi I. The author, an army scribe, ridicules the recipient for incompetence and ignorance. The novice can't do math, he panics when he should be calm, and he doesn't even know the land through which he travels. 

In this context many cities of the Heartland are mentioned. Our novice travels through the land, fearful of enemies, losing things, getting lost, hurting himself. Despite this, he is recognized and given many favors. In Joppa he finds a woman and finds . . . 

"the flowers blossoming in their season. Thou forcest a way in(?) ///////// Thou findest the fair maiden who keeps watch over the gardens. She takes thee to herself for a companion, and surrenders to thee her charms." (For translation and full text see here.)

It is to no avail. Our novice remains incompetent. He must curb his appetites and pay attention to his teacher if he wants to become a wise traveler.

Here's the conclusion:

"Attend(?) to me, and look at them calmly; (thus) thou shalt be found able to describe them, and shalt become a travelled(?) ////////////"

Scholars believe Papyrus Anastasi I may have been practice text used in the training of scribes.


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Bible Land Explorers who desire a more intimate view to the landscape featured in the gospels should consider walking across Galilee on the Jesus Trail, January 8-16, 2019. Vehicle support is provided and will return the group each night to a hotel. Contact me directly at markziese@gmail.com if interested. The trip is priced from New York at $2,588 and will be limited in size. See itinerary here.