b-greek-digest V1 #61

b-greek-digest           Saturday, 30 December 1995     Volume 01 : Number 061

In this issue:

        Re: Chrism, Baptism ... 
        Lk1:1, DIHGHSIN - how many?
        Re: Lk1:1, DIHGHSIN - how many?
        Aland's Computer-Konkordanz
        Update on Computer Concordance
        Christ, His Baptism, and the Messiah
        Re: Lk1:1, DIHGHSIN - how many?
        To: B-Greek@virginia.edu


From: Roger Andersson ST/BE <etxroan@flipper.ericsson.se>
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 95 08:20:47 +0100
Subject: Re: Chrism, Baptism ... 

Sorry, but I don't understand where you got 'oil' from?! 
While oil was used many times when anointing someone, as 
mentioned in the Bible, it wasn't always the case. (All the 
instances from the Bible that I can remember off hand, were 
anointing someone as a king.) Both Moses and (the pagan) Cyrus 
are called 'God's anointed', while there's no record of any 
literal anointing of them by any representative from God. And, 
as you've noted, not in the case of Jesus, either. He was 
anointed with holy spirit. The water used at his baptism, 
wasn't used used as --or instead of-- oil, it was strictly 
speaking not connected at all (the actual baptism and the 
actual anointment) while they happened next to each other in 
Regards, Mikael!


From: Stephen Carlson <scc@reston.icl.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 10:46:30 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Lk1:1, DIHGHSIN - how many?

I've come an interesting interpretation of Lk1:1, but it seems implausible,
so I'd like the list's opinion of it:


The NRSV's translation adequately illustrates the same problem in

Lk1:1 Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the
	  events that have been fulfilled among us,

How many accounts is Luke referring to?  Many people, each, have written
a separate account; or one account which many people helped to write?  I
have always understood Luke to refer to many accounts, but how plausible
is it to understand the latter possibility?

Luke is such a careful writer, especially in this section, if he want to
precisely state there was one account, would he have said, e.g., "MIAN

Stephen Carlson
- -- 
Stephen Carlson     :  Poetry speaks of aspirations,  : ICL, Inc.
scc@reston.icl.com  :  and songs chant the words.     : 11490 Commerce Park Dr.
(703) 648-3330      :                 Shujing 2:35    : Reston, VA  22091   USA


From: David Housholder <73423.2015@compuserve.com>
Date: 29 Dec 95 12:40:08 EST
Subject: Re: Lk1:1, DIHGHSIN - how many?

Stephen Carlson asked about Luke 1:1:
>>How many accounts is Luke referring to?  Many people, each, have written
>>a separate account; or one account which many people helped to write?

I would think this is similar to the teacher who says to a class: "I want you
all to write a term paper." The teacher would be shocked to receive one huge
multi-authored paper.

Someone will come up with a proper grammatical term for this structure. It is
similar to the use of a plural "your" with something stated singularly. "I want
you [all] to pick up your [plural] pencil [singular]. Usually we understand what
it means, but there are times when it is uncertain. When Paul says, in 1
Corinthians 3:16, NAOS [singular] QEOU ESTE [plural], = "a temple of God y'all
are," he is saying that they all need to realize that the temple is the
fellowshipping worshipping community composed of all the believers.

But what about 1 Cor 6:1? TO SWMA hUMWN NAOS . . . ESTIN. = the body [singular]
of you [plural] is a temple [singular]. Yet here Paul seems to be saying that
the body of each person is a temple.

By the way, we Atlanta folk support the use of "y'all" as a translation of
hUMEIS and "your all's" for hUMWN ("of y'all" may be acceptable too). Northern
English (with the exception of Minnesota where "youse" is the plural form of
"you") has lost precision by eliminating the second person plural (technically,
by eliminating the second person singular, but that gets beyond our scope here).

David Housholder
writing at 12:31 PM on Friday, December 29, 1995


From: Edward Hobbs <EHOBBS@wellesley.edu>
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 13:48:11 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Aland's Computer-Konkordanz

The inquiry about a place to purchase the Aland Computer-Konkordanz (I assume
the "Komputer" is a mis-spelling--I have the orignal German 2-vol. ed,
the later 1-vol., and the English-title-page editions, with Computer
always spelled thus) can be answered in perhaps two ways.
	(1) Christian Book Distributors (Peabody, MA) listed it last year,
at $84.95 plus shipping (stock # 15700).  Their new catalog does not
list it, but my guess is that they still have one or two, since dropping it
usually means they had low (or no) sales.  Phone: 508-977-5000.
	(2) De Gruyter has a New York office-distribution center, in
addition to their headquarters in Berlin.  I don't have the street address
handy, but any book-store should be able to find it (in Books in Print).
Our library is closed till Jan. 2nd, or I'd go look it up for you here.

Edward Hobbs


From: Edward Hobbs <EHOBBS@wellesley.edu>
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 15:21:47 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Update on Computer Concordance

I've just received a 48-page fine-print "New Year's Sale" flyer-catalog
from CBD.  Literally buried under "Greek Word Studies" (!) is the
Aland Concordance. It is still # 15700; the price is now $99.95.
I suspect this is the same price as Gruyter's.  Discounts from
Gruyter books are hard to come by, so this is probably the best you can
get.  Standard service UPS shipping is 8%, i.e., $8.00

Hope this helps you get what you want.

Edward Hobbs


From: Dave Maxwell <dmaxw@cs.itc.hp.com> 
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 95 14:25:52 -0700
Subject: Christ, His Baptism, and the Messiah

RE: The discussion on the anointing of Christ 
    initiated by Mikael <etxroan@flipper.ericsson.se>:

>Date: Fri, 22 Dec 95 11:06:30 +0100

>but what we
>see at this time of year is that they try to celebrate the
>birth of Jesus (Why?) and show him as a small child, and he
>was certainly not Christ when he was born as a human.

>Date: Thu, 28 Dec 1995 11:20:20 -36000

>He actually came here to
>earth to preach and to become Christ, specifically. But he
>always had the option not to obey God. Why else did Satan try
>to seduce him?  Why even mention that he kept his integrity, if
>that was all he COULD do? We're most thankful that he did keep
>his integrity. And from the prophecies and the rest of the
>Bible it's obvious that God never doubted that he would. It's
>even spoken of as a fact before it happened! (his integrity-
>keeping)  And, being on the B-GREEK list, you should know that
>the greek word for Christ means anointed; as does the hebrew
>word for Messiah. So -- maybe I'm a bit picky -- he couldn't be
>called Christ until he de facto was anointed, which happened
>when the holy spirit descended in the form of a dove after his
>baptism. Regards, Mikael!

Both of these arguments in my mind touch critically on the person
of Christ.  Who was he?  One theory holds that Jesus was a man
whom Christ came to indwell, and whom some (I think the Gnostics)
hold went back to heaven before the man Jesus died on the cross.
I am in no way making a straw man.  At the heart of the matter is
the full humanity, and the full deity of Christ.

First, the angel in Luke 2:11 announced:
  "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
   which is Christ the Lord:"
He was born the Messiah.

Second, I see no way of separating the Messiah-ship of Jesus from
his deity.  He was "MOSHIACH BEN YOSEPH" (i.e. the term used by
some Jews to denote what we would term the "Suffering Saviour") by
virtue of the fact that he was the SINLESS Son of God.  He did not
become sinless - he was sinless.  He began his earthly ministry at
his baptism, but the descending of the Spirit as a dove did not make
him anything intrinsically that he wasn't already.

Christ said to the Jews in John 8:58:
  <<Before Abraham came into existance, I am>>
The contrast of the present tense with the aorist infinitive is a 
statement of an "actual infinite" hearkening back to the proclamation
in Exodus 3: 
  "I AM that I AM"
  "Tell them that I AM hath sent thee."

The record in Hebrews 1:2,3 states:
  "Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath
   appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds:
   Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of 
   his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power,
   when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right
   hand of the Majesty on high:"

Here is a statement in which the humanity and deity of Christ come
together.  He is at once seen as the "appointed heir", the one who
"purged our sins", and "sat down" (in time dimension); but also
the one who "made the worlds" and "[upholds] all things".  To dissect
the humanity/deity of Christ is as much beyond human reason as the
unity/plurality of the Godhead.  There are those who take the KENOSIS
of Christ (Philippians 2:5-11) as indicating that he gave up some of
his attributes such as his omnipresence.  But there is no evidence
at all that having taken the "form of a servant" (vs 7) that he ever
gave up the "form of God" (vs 6) - GK : MORPHE(*).  He set aside the
*exercise* of his attributes, and lived his life for the most part as
a *man* yielded in totality to God.  One notable exception would be 
his transfiguration in which he lifted the veil of his humanity for
a moment for the sake of three disciples.  There is no more reason
to assume that God gave up his omnipresence when he "localized" himself 
in the incarnation than when he "localized" himself in the burning bush 
before Moses.  God being omnipresent even "exists" (for lack of a better
word) in hell, and yet hell is "an atheist's paradise" where there truly

This also relates specifically to the issue of whether Christ could
have sinned.  One can attempt to reason a dissection of "Jesus" from
"Christ" all day long, but the "humanity" of Jesus could not have sinned
without the "deity" of Christ also sinning at which point the entire
universe would have "melt[ed] with fervent heat" seeing that "all
things are upheld by the word of his power".  The little bit of 
"comfort" we might gain in seeing his temptations as being more
"legitimate" if he "could have sinned" is small gain for the price of
deity sinning!  Besides, Satan evidently *thought* that it might be
possible to entrap Christ.  If he really knew the impossibility of
causing Christ to succumb to temptation I doubt that he would have
done it just so the gospel writers would have had something to 
write showing the invincibility of His Character.  This alone is
sufficient to make the temptation of Christ "legitimate".  He answered
the temptation as a man who had fasted for 40 days and nights, and
yet with the wisdom and finality of Eternal God.

Revelation is more often than not cheapened by the feeble attempts of
relentless human reason.  The beauty of a flower is better appreciated
before it is dissected.  And though we may better "understand" a flower
by dissecting it there are some things better seen "through a glass
darkly".  We may have access to the physical world through a microscope
and scientific test, but the spiritual world comes only through the
revelation of the Spirit of God --without which we would have no choice
but to be agnostic--.  I am in no way against apologetics, and Bible
analysis, and the like.  I am simply saying that we cannot choose to
negotiate the sinlessness of Christ in order to obtain a more 
"legitimate" temptation of Christ "who was in all ways tempted as we,
yet without sin".  

Nor is it necessary to envision Jesus as becoming Christ in order to 
obtain a more earthly Messiah.  From the "beginning" he was the LOGOS 
[the eternal expression/proclamation/revelation] of eternal God.  
He never ceased to be that.  He never became less than "Anointed".  
Having been conceived within the virgin womb of Mary by the Holy 
Spirit, what more could he have *become* when the Spirit came visibly 
upon him at the baptism?  The baptism was more a public testimony of 
who he *was* and a foreshadowing of the "baptism" that he would be 
baptized with, and the "cup" that he would drink when he went to the 
cross.  Baptism in all of its Biblical forms is demonstrative of a 
death, burial, and resurrection.  There are no exceptions.  From the 
crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Christ to water baptism to 
Spirit baptism into the Body of Christ.  It is a dying to one life to 
be raised to another.  So Christ died to any life of his own, embarking
on a path of messianic public ministry that lead ultimately to the 
architypal baptism after which all others are patterned, namely, his 

Christ was anointed at his baptism in the sense of obtaining the public
proclamation of the Father's approval in the demonstration of the dove
and the audible voice, but there is no evidence in the text that Jesus
was more Messiah after the baptism that before.  On the one hand Jesus
became in the sense that all men become.  But as he was intrinsically
God, he was Christ from conception and birth.

One may perhaps argue that "Christ" is office and not substance, and in
this sense he became Messiah.  But again, he was proclaimed to be Christ
at his birth, and his full name "Jesus Christ" is too substantive to be
mere office.  Other religions may speak of their "guru" or "prophet" as
becoming, but I believe the text of scripture would indicate the Jesus
was always "Emmanuel"/"Messiah"/"Lord".  It may be said that he did not
enter into the full expression of who he *was* until the baptism,  but
even as a child he demonstrated who he *was* by confounding the scribes
in the temple.  Even then he knew that he "must be about [his] Father's

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From: Carlton Winbery <winberyc@popalex1.linknet.net>
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 18:46:01 +0400
Subject: Re: Lk1:1, DIHGHSIN - how many?

Stephen Carlson wrote;
>I've come an interesting interpretation of Lk1:1, but it seems implausible,
>so I'd like the list's opinion of it:
>The NRSV's translation adequately illustrates the same problem in
>Lk1:1 Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the
>          events that have been fulfilled among us,
>How many accounts is Luke referring to?  Many people, each, have written
>a separate account; or one account which many people helped to write?  I
>have always understood Luke to refer to many accounts, but how plausible
>is it to understand the latter possibility?
>Luke is such a careful writer, especially in this section, if he want to
>precisely state there was one account, would he have said, e.g., "MIAN
The possibility of a single account contributed by many people seems to me
remote indeed.  ANATACASQAI can mean "to compile" can imply that Luke is
thinking of several sources.  Verse two indicates that he was dealing with
traditions that were being passed on.  There were many AUTOPTAI and
hUPHRETAI.  This situation, I would think, calls for Luke having several
written sources.  I think that he is thinking of these.

Carlton L. Winbery
Prof. Religion
LA College, Pineville, La


From: LECHEM777@delphi.com
Date: Sat, 30 Dec 1995 00:08:15 -0500 (EST)
Subject: To: B-Greek@virginia.edu

     The Ugaritic literature was discovered in 1928-32 in Ras Shamra, Syria
and excavated by a French expedition. This proved to be the site of the
ancient city of Ugarit. The texts that were discovered were of a Semitic
language of a Canaanite people.       Before the discovery of the tablets,
most of what was known about the Canaanites came from the Old Testament.
Many of the clay tablets found at Ugarit were written down about 1375-1345
BCE (Coogan 10). These texts were written and the city of Ugarit were
destroyed before the Israelite occupation of the area (Curtis 31).  That is
if one believes that the Canaanites did not assimilate into the Israelite
religion and culture and/or that the Old Testament can not be seen as a
later phase of Canaanite literature.      What makes the discovery of these
texts so spectacular is that we not only get a greater insight of a culture
we know nothing about outside the Old Testament, but that elements of
Canaanite literary styles are similar to those used in the Old Testament.
This is especially true in terms of their poetic styles. Hebrew poetry is
very similar to Ugaritic poetry. Both were far more similar with each other
in their poetry than in their prose. So similar are these styles that it is
possible to emend one with the use of a parallel passage in the other.
(Ginsberg 109)  
      Ugarit and Hebrew poetry both use parallelism as their most striking
feature (Curtis 109). Parallelism is the correlation of two verses in
meaning and expression. The relationship of the two verses is that the
thought or expression of the first verse is reflected in the second in an
either positive or negative manner.(Gevirtz 6) This literary devise would
develop fixed pairs, or cliches, (Gevirtz 9), that are two words, sometimes
three, that are often used together in a parallel. And the use of fixed
pairs (e.g. sea/river, hand/right hand, heart/liver) are common. An example
would be "stranger" and "foreigner", that occurs twelve times in biblical
poetry. (Gevirtz 9) 

Ps. 81:9   There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down
to a foreign god. 

     A similar number was found for the use of "hand" and "right hand", of
which was also used in the Ugarit. Most of the Ugarit word pairs have their
equivalent in the Biblical literature (Greenfield 550). It is amongst these
pairs that some amendments to the Bible could be suggested. 

(1) III AB B:39    [Sei]zing [a cudgel] in his hand,
                    A bludgeon  in his right hand,  (ANAT)

Ps. 21:8   Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will
find out those who hate you      There are several types of parallels, many
were used in both bodies of literature. Such as semantic parallelism, a
parallelism in the meaning of words or phrases in poetry. This incorporates
the use of synonyms. 

Ps. 29:4   The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

(2) III AB A:2   To the earth shall fall the strong,
      To the dust the mighty."  (ANAT)
     There is also syntactic parallelism, a parallelism of mutual
grammatical structure and placement for words or phrases in poetry. 

Gen. 4:24   If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold.

e. II AB (vii)  Sixty-six towns he took, 
Seventy-seven hamlets;   (ANAT)
     There is also interlinear parallelism, the grouping and matching of
words and phrases by poetic equivalents. As well as many others. 

Ps. 27:1   The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The
LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 

(1) III AB B:45 
            He con]fronts the messengers of Yamm,
                The [en]voys of Judge Naha[r. (ANAT)
      As with parallels, similar similes were also found in both literary
traditions (Greenfield 554). 

Hosea 13:3  ...like chaff that swirls from the threshing floor or like smoke 
from a window. 

Ps. 10:9   they lurk in secret like a lion in its lair; they lurk that they
may seize the poor; they seize the poor and drag them off in their net. 
The above biblical similes have their Ugarit counterparts found in a text
discovered in Ras Ibn Hani, near Ugarit. In the Ugarit text there was a call 
for evildoers to leave "like smoke from a window" and "like a lion to its
lair. (Greenfield 555)      There were other literary devices used in common 
in the poetry of both bodies of literature. There was the use of the same
verb in parallelism in the perfect and imperfect tenses and the same root in 
the active and passive voice. (Greenfield 550) As in "he has acted/he will
act" and "he will build/let it be built" (Greenfield 551). There were also
similar uses of rhetorical questions and stereotyped phrases (Greenfield
551, as well as repetition. These elements, amongst others, suggest a common 
poetic tradition with the two bodies of literature. 
     Amongst the other elements that link the two literary traditions were
common mythological links. Similar mythical themes were used in both
traditions. But first we must discuss the objects of the Ugaritic poetry,
its pantheon. 
     El in the Canaanite pantheon was its head, whom presides over the
assembly of gods. He is often refered to as king, bull, father of mankind
(ab adam), creator of creatures, and Father of Years. El may have been the
creator, but no creation narrative has yet been found. He is consulted on
important issues such as the building of Baal's palace. (Curtis 83) The
assembly of gods that El resides over is similar to that described in
several Biblical verses (Curtis 113)(Greenfield 548). 

Ps. 89:6   For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the
heavenly beings is like the LORD, 

Isa. 6:2   Seraphs were in attendance above Him; each had six wings: with
two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with 
two they flew. 
Isa. 14:13   You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will raise
my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of assembly on the 
heights of Zaphon; 

1Kgs. 22:19   Then Micaiah said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw 
the LORD sitting on his throne, with all the host of heaven standing beside
him to the right and to the left of him. 

Dan. 7:10   A stream of fire issued and flowed out from his presence. A
thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood
attending him. The court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. 

e. II AB (V): 85  Unto Baal upon Zaphon's summit,
    O'er a thousand fields, ten thousand acres.
       Laughing, the Maiden Anath
       Lifts up her voice and cries:
       "Receive, Baal, the glad tidings I bring thee.
  They will build thee a house like thy brethren's
       And a court like unto thy kindred's (El's?).
The striking reminiscence of the above Ugarit passage to the preceding
Biblical passages is riveting. 
     Athirat was El's consort. She was possibly a goddess of the sea, and
mother of the gods. She had 70 offspring, including Yam, Mot, and  Athtar
(Curtis 83). 
     Mot was Lord of Death, an adversary to life and fertility (Oldenburg
36), who combats with Baal and Anath. Mot in the Old Testament is paralleled 
by le`y, Sheol. Both are characterized by desire that could not be
satisfied, and associated with a muddy pit. (Oldenburg 35) (Curtis 104). 

g. I AB (i): 9   From the tomb of the Godly Mot
     From the Pit of El's Belov'd Ghazir. 
g. I AB (ii):1  One lip to earth and one to heaven,
        [He stretches his to]ngue to the stars.
                  Baal enters his mouth, 
            (ii):8   His [filthy] land of inheritance. (ANAT)

Isa. 5:14   Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth
beyond measure; the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude go down, her
throng and all who exult in her. 

Isa. 14:15   But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit.

Ps. 40:2   He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set 
my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 

Ps. 69:14   rescue me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my
enemies and from the deep waters. 

Ps. 69:15   Do not let the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up,
or the Pit close its mouth over me. 
There is in general a great deal of similarity between the Hebrew and Ugarit 
concepts of death and the underworld (Curtis 111). 
     Yam, El's first born (Oldenburg 32), was Identified with Ltn, i.e.
Leviathan (Oldenburg 33). His epitaphs included Prince Sea and Judge River
often used in parallelism (Oldenburg 32). Rivers were seen by the early
Canaanites as dragon-serpents due to their winding twisted nature. This
gives credence to the speculation that Leviathan in the Hebrew, oziel, may
have been derived from the Hebrew word for twisted, diel. (Oldenburg 33) 

Isa. 27:1   On that day the LORD with his cruel and great and strong sword
will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent,
and he will kill the dragon that is in the sea. 
     Though El was the supreme deity, he was not an active force in the
Ugaritic universe (Curtis 83). Rather Yam was ascending into greater
prominence as an active force in the creation. He wanted to build his own
palace as a symbol of his prominence. This draw him into conflict with Baal, 
who was seeking permission from El to build a palace. Yamm was later
defeated by Baal. In the Hebrew Bible, God was attributed with victory over
Ltn, Leviathan (Curtis 115). The creature symbolized the Red Sea in the Old
Testament and Satan in the New Testament (Oldenburg 34). 

Ps. 74:13   You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the
dragons in the waters. 
Ps. 74:14   You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the 
creatures of the wilderness. 

Rev. 12:3   Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon,
with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 

Rev. 12:9   The great dragon...called the Devil and Satan....

f. V AB D: 38  Crushed I not El's Belov'd Yamm?
                          Destroyed I not El's Flood Rabbim?
                     Did I not, pray, muzzle the Dragon?
                          I did crush the crooked serpent,
                    Shalyat the seven-headed;
     In The Ugarit Yamm represents chaos and the forces if the ocean
(Craigie 63) and the rivers. So does it appear in the Hebrew tradition.
There were also remarkable similarities found in the Babylonian Creation
Story, as well as other Eastern myths.(Craigie 62) 

I. 1.  When the heaven (-gods) above were as yet  uncreated,
The earth (-gods) below not yet brought into being,
Alone there existed primordial Apsu (the great "male" ocean, the source of
lakes (Thomas 14) ) who engendered them, Only Mummu, and Taimat who brought
all of them forth.  5.  Their waters could mix together in a single stream,

Unrestricted by reed-beds, unimpeded by marsh :
For, since none of the gods had at this time appeared,
these had not yet been formed, or been with destinies decreed.
9. In the depths of their waters the gods were created: 
 (The opening chapters of "The Babylonian Epic of Creation", found in
Documents from Old Testament Times, edited by D. Winton Thomas: 1958)     
In the above myth as with most Eastern creation myths, there was the
primordial chaotic waters followed by an emergence of an ordered world
(Craigei 63).  Similarly was the creation in the Bible,  God bringing Earth
from being in "tohu" and "bohu". 

Gen. 1:2   the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of
the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters 

     Baal was another high profile deity within the Canaanite literature.
There is only one passage that suggests that Baal was a son of El. But the
are many passages that suggest that he was the son of Dagon, though Dagon
has no part in the Ugarit texts. Baal may have been an outside deity that
slowly became a Ugarit deity. There is a lot of opposition between Baal and
El's family. Baal was possibly a fertility deity. He obtains his position
amongst the other gods through conflict and his fertility powers. (Curtis
86) Baal's victory symbolizes order's conquest over chaos (Craigei 63).
Festivals and ceremonies surrounding this myth would have been to ensure
lifegiving rains in due season and in due measure (Curtis 103).  
     Baal is often refered to as victor, prince king, judge, most high, lord 
of earth, and rider of the clouds. Similar attributes were given to God in
the Old Testament. Even the more obscure attributes as the "rider of the

Ps. 68:4   Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who
rides upon the clouds  his name is the LORD  be exultant before him. 

Ps. 104:3   you set the beams of your chambers on the waters, you make the
clouds your chariot, you ride on the wings of the wind, 

      Such imagery would also resurfaces in much later writings as the New
Testament. This was also the image of the ascension and descension of

Matt. 24:30   Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and
then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of
Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 

Mark 13:26 and Luke 21:27  Then they will see the Son of Man coming in
clouds with great power and glory. 

Rev. 1:7   Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even
those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will
wail. So it is to be. Amen. 
     Anat was Baal's sister. She was a virgin goddess of war that was very
often associated with Baal (Greenfield 549). Oddly, Baal was associated more 
with Athirat (Ashirah) or with Athtarat (Ashtorath) in the Old Testament, a
goddess who does not play a dominant role in the Ugaritic texts.  
     One of the strongest similarities in the myths of the two traditions
was in the battle with Leviathan. This myth reflects a sense of continuity
between the two cultures. In the Ugarit, it is an epic tale of Baal's
triumph over the god of the sea, Yamm or Ltn, and his brother the god of
death, Mot. This epic tale appears to have reflected seasonal changes. But
this theme appears to have continued into the Hebrew tradition. This is
especially true in the Revelation of the Apostle John. 
     In the Apocalypse of John the Ugarit epic survives as Christ taking the 
role of Baal and His conquests over Satan, as a Leviathan. 

Rev. 12:3   Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon,
with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 

Rev. 12:9   The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is
called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world  he was thrown
down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 
Once Satan was defeated, there was no more sin. Since the wages for sin
equals death, Rom. 6:23, hence death was defeated. 

Rev. 20:13   And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, Death and Hades
gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to what
they had done. 
Rev. 20:14   Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is 
the second death, the lake of fire; 
Rev. 21:4   he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have
passed away. 

The utter destruction of Death in the Christian epic is not too dissimilar
to the Ugarit equivalent. They both are even destroyed with the use of fire.  
 h. I AB (ii):30-40

Then Anath the Lass draws nigh him
     Like the heart of a ewe for her lamb...
She siezes the Godly Mot-
     With sword she doth cleave him.
With fan she doth winnow him-
     with fire she doth burn him.
With hand-mill she grinds him-
     In the field she doth sow him.
Birds eat his remnants,
     consuming his portions,...
           (later Mot was revived)
Nasty blows to the head were also parts of both, the Ugarit and Christian

(2) III AB A: 22  It strikes the pate of Prince Yamm,
                    Between the eyes of Judge Nahar.
                         Yamm collapses,

Rev. 13:3   One of its heads seemed to have received a death-blow, but its
mortal wound had been healed. In amazement the whole earth followed the

Yamm apparently recovers from his blow and is confined to the seas, since he 
is mentioned later in that epic (ANAT 131). The Beast in Revelations also
recovers from a fatal blow to the head. 
     The Church in the Book of Revelations held the role of the virgin
goddess of war, Anath. In the Christian epic, the Church supplies 144
thousand virgin warriors to fight in Armageddon and was commonly described
as a woman. 

Rev. 14:3   and they sing a new song before the throne and before the four
living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except
the one hundred forty-four thousand who have been redeemed from the earth. 

Rev. 14:4   It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they 
are virgins; these follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been redeemed 
from humankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb, 

Rev. 12:14   But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so
that she could fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to her place where
she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. 
     There were many themes in common in the New Testament literature and
the Ugarit, including major cosmic changes once the battle with the Serpent
was over. In Christian theology the world is now in chaos. And in both the
Ugarit and Revelations the defeat of the monster reflects a return or an
establishment of order to the universe, a deliverance. Such similarities
were not as strong in the Old Testament. But rather they were underplayed.
Perhaps due to the lack of an adversary to God in Old Testament theology,
such as the Christian concept of Satan. But there were some similarities. In 
Isaiah, as in the Ugarit, once Ltn was destroyed that there would be a sort
of cosmic restoration as in Revelation's. But in the Old Testament, Ltn was
not responsible for global chaos as in the Ugarit.   

Isa. 27:1   On that day the LORD with his cruel and great and strong sword
will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent,
and he will kill the dragon that is in the sea. 
 27:2   On that day: A pleasant vineyard, sing about it! 

Isa. 27:6   In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and
put forth shoots, and fill the whole world with fruit. 
Isa. 27:9   Therefore by this the guilt of Jacob will be expiated, and this
will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin: 

f. V AB D:39  Did I not pray, muzzle the Dragon?
                 I did crush the crooked serpent, 
                   Shalyat the seven-headed

            D:65  "I'll take war away from the earth,
                     Banish all strife from the soil,
                      Pour peace into earth's very bowels,

Rev. 21:1   Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven
and the first earth had passed away, and the sea (Yamm vanquished?) was no
But in the Old Testament Leviathan remained dominantly one of God's
creatures, a simple creation (Curtis 115). 

Job 3:8   Let those curse it who curse the Sea, those who are skilled to
rouse up Leviathan. 

Job 41:1    Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook, or press down its
tongue with a cord? 

Ps. 74:14   You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the 
creatures of the wilderness. 

Ps. 104:26   There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in

2Esd. 6:49    Then you kept in existence two living creatures; the one you
called Behemoth and the name of the other Leviathan. 

2Esd. 6:52   but to Leviathan you gave the seventh part, the watery part;
and you have kept them to be eaten by whom you wish, and when you wish. 

     Certainly, the evasion of the myth of Ltn in the Old Testament was an
act of a very monotheistic editor and authors. But the persistence of the
myth in both the New Testament and Isaiah may have reflected the myth's
persistence in the folk religion and superstitions of the people in one form 
or another. This is also supported by the fact that many general motifs
remained very prominent in the Old Testament literature, such as with Sheol
and Mot. And those not discused in this paper as resurrection, the constant
references to the temple and footstools, and so on. There has even been
speculation that certain psalms were originally used to praise Baal. And
that the Hebrew God was transposed upon such a  psalm so as to praise God.
(Curtis 109).      To conclude this paper, the literary similarities are
extensive between the Ugarit and the Biblical traditions. It would be easy
to assume that he early Hebrews were Canaanites that had accepted monotheism 
and incorporated their old folk beliefs into that monotheism. This would
have been especially true in their poetry, since abstract thought could very 
easily manipulate mythic themes to express theological concepts of


Bibliography and Works Cited

1.   Alter, Robert. The Art of Biblical Poetry. Basic Books, 1985.
2.   Coogan, Michael David. Stories From Ancient Canaan. Louisville:
               The Westminster Press, 1978.
3.   Craigie, Peter C. Ugarit and the Old Testament. Grand Rapids:
               William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1983.
4.   Curtis, Adrian. Cities of the Biblical World: Ugarit (Ras Shamra). 
               Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1985.
5.   Gevirtz, Stanley. Patterns in the Early Poetry of Israel. Chicago:
               The University of Chicago Press, 1963.
6.   Ginsberg, H.L. "The Ugarit Texts and Textual Criticism", Journal of
                Biblical Literature. June 1943. 
7.   Greenfield, Jonas C. "The Hebrew Bible and Canaanite Literature", 
               The Literary Guide to the Bible. Robert Alter and Frank
Kermode                eds. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987.

8.   Oldenburg, Ulf. The Conflict Between El and Ba'al in Canaanite 
               Religion. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1969.
9.   Pritchard, James B. Ancient Near Eastern Texts. Princeton: Princeton
               University Press, 1955.
10.   Thomas, D. Winton, ed. Documents from Old Testament Times. 
               London: Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., 1958.  

Themes and Style in Common:
Ugarit and Biblical Poetry
by: Bradley Harrison
Dr. Waldman
Biblical Poetry
Bible 40107
Gratz College
Spring 1994


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