By John Joseph Collins (ed.)
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Extra resources for The Origins of Apocalypticism in Judaism and Christianity
Lotan appears in the Bible under the name Leviathan in Ps. 74:13-14; Job 3:8; 26:12-13; 41:1-34; Isa. 27:1; Rev. 12:3; 17:1-14; 19:20; 21:1; 2 Esdras 6:49-52. Mot is not described but may also be a monster. To judge by their names, Yamm and Mot represent forces hostile to the human race and terrifY the divine assembly. Unfortunately the precise nature of their threat is unclear. The decree is ascribed to E1. The assembly is not recorded as issuing decrees on its own. When the goddesses Anat and Asherah ask El to permit Baal to build a palace after his victory over Mot and Yamm, they praise his decree: "Your decree, 0 El, is wise.
Baal gathers the material and Koshar wa-Hasis builds it. vi = ANET 134-35) and invites all the gods to a dedicatory banquet. He marches triumphantly through numerous towns in the vicinity of his Mount Zaphon and from his palace proclaims his kingship in thunder as his enemies flee. In this moment of triumph, Baal instructs his messengers to proclaim his kingship to the underworld and invites Mot. 5 (ANET 138-39) directly continues, as most scholars assume (though there are difficulties), then Baal's triumph is suddenly turned upside down as Mot invites, or rather commands, Baal to come to his underworld domain.
The poets celebrated Yahweh's victories not over other gods or monsters but over the army of Pharaoh in Egypt. Yahweh fought Israel's battles. These historical acts were nonetheless celebrated with mythic language and concepts, which deepened their significance and gave them a cosmic scope. The combined historical and mythic reference enabled Israel, relatively insignificant in comparison with other peoples, to reckon itself as extraordinary, the special people of the Most High God. In the course ofIsrael's history, the prominence given to either the mythic or the historical dimension in religious writings varied.