The Instruction of Ptah-Hotep and the Instruction of Ke'Gemni The Oldest Books in the World by Battiscombe G. (Battiscombe George) Gunn Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new!It hath been already of old time, Which was before us.There is no remembrance of former things;Neither shall there be any remembranceOf things that are to comeWith those that shall come after. In these days, when all things and memories of the past are at length become not only subservient to, but submerged by, the matters and needs ...
The Instruction of Ptah-Hotep and the Instruction of Ke'Gemni The Oldest Books in the World by Battiscombe G. (Battiscombe George) Gunn Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new!It hath been already of old time, Which was before us.There is no remembrance of former things;Neither shall there be any remembranceOf things that are to comeWith those that shall come after. In these days, when all things and memories of the past are at length become not only subservient to, but submerged by, the matters and needs of the immediate present, those paths of knowledge that lead into regions seemingly remote from such needs are somewhat discredited; and the aims of those that follow them whither they lead are regarded as quite out of touch with the real interests of life. Very greatly is this so with archaeology, and the study of ancient and curious tongues, and searchings into old thoughts on high and ever-insistent questions; a public which has hardly time to read more than its daily newspaper and its weekly novel has denounced-almost dismissed-them, with many other noble and wonderful things, as 'unpractical, ' whatever that vague and hollow word may mean. As to those matters which lie very far back, concerning the lands of several thousand years ago, it is very generally held that they are the proper and peculiar province of specialists, dry-as-dusts, and persons with an irreducible minimum of human nature. It is thought that knowledge concerning them, not the blank ignorance regarding them that almost everywhere obtains, is a thing of which to be rather ashamed, a detrimental possession; in a word, that the subject is not only unprofitable (a grave offence), but also uninteresting, and therefore contemptible. This is a true estimate of general opinion, although there are those who will, for their own sakes, gainsay it. When, therefore, I state that one of the writings herein translated has an age of nearly six thousand years, and that another is but five hundred years younger, it is likely that many will find this sufficient reason against further perusal, deeming it impossible that such things can possess attraction for one not an enthusiast for them. Yet so few are the voices across so great a span of years that those among them having anything to tell us should be welcome exceedingly; whereas, for the most part, they have cried in the wilderness of neglect hitherto, or fallen on ears filled with the clamour of more instant things. We are delighted to publish this classic book as part of our extensive Classic Library collection. Many of the books in our collection have been out of print for decades, and therefore have not been accessible to the general public. The aim of our publishing program is to facilitate rapid access to this vast reservoir of literature, and our view is that this is a significant literary work, which deserves to be brought back into print after many decades. The contents of the vast majority of titles in the Classic Library have been scanned from the original works. To ensure a high quality product, each title has been meticulously hand curated by our staff. Our philosophy has been guided by a desire to provide the reader with a book that is as close as possible to ownership of the original work. We hope that you will enjoy this wonderful classic work, and that for you it becomes an enriching experience.
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