Ideals of a Life: Words for “Transgression” in the Stela of Baki

in Journal of Egyptian History
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Abstract

This study is a lexical analysis of the words for “deviant behaviour” found in the Dynasty 18 stela of Baki (Turin 156). The text contains numerous praises that are formulated as disclaimers against wrongdoing and it therefore provides a fertile ground to examine members of the “transgression” word-field. Many of these words, including isf.t, hww, dw, iwh, wn and sp hsy are not sufficiently differentiated by current dictionaries, where they are generally translated as “Böses” or “Sünde.” An examination of the way these synonyms are used in the stela of Baki reveals distinctions in meaning and allows insight into what may govern the selection of one word over another in certain contexts. This enhances our understanding of the meaning of these words and illuminates the structure of the word-field they belong to as well as the corresponding concept in the Egyptian thought-world.

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