Teaching of Cheti

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The doctrine of Cheti is an ancient Egyptian wisdom doctrine of the 12th dynasty , which has been handed down on four papyri , two writing tablets and countless ostraca , the oldest evidence comes from the 18th dynasty . It describes the advantages of the writing profession and lists the disadvantages of other, mostly manual and agricultural professions.


The text begins with a framework story: the father “Cheti”, possibly more correct “Dua-Cheti” ( Dw3-Ḫtjj ), accompanies his son Pepi to the residence school with the admonition to be diligent in the school and to become a civil servant. In doing so, Cheti contrasts the profession of writing, which he describes as extremely pleasant, with other professions which, in contrast, are described as exhausting and dangerous. In a second part the father gives the son a few rules of etiquette, similar to those found in other teachings in ancient Egyptian literature . Finally, the father once again emphasizes the advantages of the profession of writing.


The emergence of the doctrine of Cheti in the 12th Dynasty is explained by the great need for officials in the construction of the state at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom . This doctrine was apparently long popular in the school system, because even the Mendes - Stele of . Ptolemy II Philadelphus quoted a passage from her. It is possible that even the book of Jesus Sirach was influenced by the teaching of Cheti.