Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Enuma Elish

“Neither the literature of Canaan nor the literature of Egypt testifies to a revolt of the gods; all we encounter is one god challenging another god. In neither literature, however, is there any reason to conclude that the conflict is related to cosmogony. Enuma Elish, as we have seen, provides examples of three categories of theomachy: dissatisfied class struggle is resolved by creating humankind; macrocosmic chaos, represented in Tiamat’s rebellion, is resolved in cosmogony; and struggle for rule (represented in Kingu’s possession of the Tablet of Destinies) is resolved by Marduk’s ascension to the throne. In this respect, Enuma Elish should be viewed as idiosyncratic rather than paradigmatic. We have no reason to expect that an ancient Near Eastern cosmogony would feature theomachy. “—Genesis 1 as Ancient Cosmology, page 74

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