The Conflict Myth and the Biblical Tradition

Hardcover | June 15, 2015

byDebra Scoggins Ballentine

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There are many ancient West Asian stories that narrate the victory of a warrior deity over an enemy, typically a sea-god or sea dragon, and his rise to divine kingship. In The Conflict Myth and the Biblical Tradition, Debra Scoggins Ballentine analyzes this motif, arguing that it was usedwithin ancient political and socio-religious discourses to bolster particular divine hierarchies, kings, institutions, and groups, as well as to attack others. Situating her study of the conflict topos within contemporary theorizations of myth by Bruce Lincoln, Russell McCutcheon, and Jonathan Z.Smith, Ballentine examines narratives of divine combat and instances of this conflict motif. Her study cuts across traditional disciplinary boundaries as well as constructed time periods, focusing not only on the Hebrew Bible but also incorporating Mesopotamian, early Jewish, early Christian, andrabbinic texts, spanning a period of almost three millennia - from the eighteenth century BCE to the early middle ages CE. The Conflict Myth and the Biblical Tradition advances our understanding of the conflict topos in ancient west Asian and early Jewish and Christian literatures and of how mythological and religious ideas are used both to validate and render normative particular ideologies and socio-politicalarrangements, and to delegitimize and invalidate others.

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There are many ancient West Asian stories that narrate the victory of a warrior deity over an enemy, typically a sea-god or sea dragon, and his rise to divine kingship. In The Conflict Myth and the Biblical Tradition, Debra Scoggins Ballentine analyzes this motif, arguing that it was usedwithin ancient political and socio-religious dis...

Debra Scoggins Ballentine is an assistant professor in the Department of Religion at Rutgers, where she teaches courses on the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near Eastern religions.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.29 × 6.42 × 0.98 inPublished:June 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199370257

ISBN - 13:9780199370252

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsI. Theorizing Myth in Ancient West Asian StudiesMyth TheoryBiblical Scholarship and the Category of MythTerminologyThe Ancient West Asian Milieu and the Comparative EnterpriseII. The Conflict Topos in Extant NarrativesAnzuEnuma ElishAssur version of Enuma ElishBa'lu CycleComparisons and Narrative TaxonomyConclusionIII. The Conflict MotifVictorious Warrior Deities: 'Anatu, Ba'lu, and YahwehYahweh's Combat against the Sea/Dragon and Its Relevance for HumansDivine Combat within Historiography: Combined Conflict and Exodus MotifsYahweh vs. Human Enemies: Combat with Contemporary "Dragons"The TempleThe Conflict Motif and Royal FiguresConclusionIV. Continued Adaptation, The Conflict Motif and the EschatonHebrew Bible Eschatological BattlesRevelationJesus/Christos as the Divine WarriorLeviathan and Behemoth in the Eschaton and More Eschatological BattlesThe "Holy One" vs. the Prince of the SeaConclusionV. The Motif of Yahweh's Authority over the Sea and the Legitimacy of Individuals: Claiming vs. Having Power over the SeaJesusAntiochus IV EpiphanesGamalielConclusionVI. ConclusionLeave "Chaos" Out of ItThe Conflict Topos, Distinctions and ComparisonsNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Ballentine's keen study is groundbreaking with its comprehensive analysis of the combat myth as ideological production. Building on the work of Bruce Lincoln and Jonathan Z. Smith on how myths encode hierarchical taxonomies, Ballentine deftly articulates the legitimizing and delegitimizingideology of the conflict topos. Ballentine's nuanced and wide-ranging research (covering the combat myth from the Middle Bronze Age to the rabbinic period) will prove enlightening for all historians of religion." --Theodore J. Lewis, Blum-Iwry Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Johns Hopkins University