The Eloquent Peasant

The Minority Report
Loren Fisher’s translation of the Egyptian tale The Eloquent Peasant is out. Here’s what the back cover says.

Four thousand years ago, Egyptian society struggled with the downfall of the Old Kingdom, which brought an end to material success and introduced anarchy and chaos. Out of this period of crisis came such literature as A Dialogue between a Man and His Ba, Instructions of Meri-Re, as Weill as the story recounted in the volume, The Eloquent Peasant.
In this story, Khun-Anup, a poor peasant, was robbed, beaten, and scorned by Nemtinakht, who was well connected. Khun-Anup appealed to authorities for redresses but dad to make his appeals nine times. This compelling narrative recounts the peasant’s struggle for justice. This fresh translation with notes provides an engaging entry in a story that has contemporary implications.

Loren’s translations are always clear and his notes concise. Loren uses his skills as a poet to inform his skills as a translator. You will be well rewarded by Loren’s translation of The Eloquent Peasant.
Because most Hebrew Bible students are not trained in the Egyptian language much that that language and culture might have to offer interpreters goes untapped. At the most recent Pacific Coast Regional SBL meeting, Chris Hays made this point in his comments during the Neo-Assyrian Insights on Ancient Israel and the Hebrew Bible session. Yes, a person trained in Assyriology recommended the study of Egyptian at a session with Neo-Assyrian Insights in its title. He even channeled Mr. McGuire in the Graduate, “I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. – Egypt.” No, I’m not going to take up Egyptian at this stage of my life. But I do think more students of the Hebrew Bible should. Failing that, I think we can all profit from fresh, fluid translations like Loren’s.