My brother and I were looking at your book, How To Read The Bible, over this past Passover. I brought up the Ipuwer Papyrus. Based on what I understand of this document, it appears to describe the plagues in Egypt. It may be considered a “first hand” literal account or poetry written about the economic downfall of the time. My brother brought up an interesting point. He questioned the validity of the Ipuwer Papyrus because it didn’t make its way in to your book (or maybe we just can’t find it)!
Here are links:
The wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipuwer_Papyrus
“Full” text: http://nefertiti.iwebland.com/texts/ipuwer.htm
Do you know anything of this document and if so, can you give us more information on it and your thoughts?
It’s a tempting idea, but the trouble with associating that particular papyrus with the exodus is that, by even the most conservative chronology, it dates to a period well before the exodus. This doesn’t mean, of course, that this Egyptian text is totally irrelevant. Many scholars have suggested that the account in the book of Exodus contains elements from various oral traditions created in Egypt or Canaan in different periods, since Western Semites did sometimes infiltrate — or invade — Egypt, and even ruled Egypt for a while. It may be one such instance that pap. Leiden I 344 is talking about, but I don’t think there’s enough evidence to say that it has any direct bearing on the events described in the Bible.