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Beast

Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception

Athena – Birkat ha-Minim

Volume 3
Editor(s): Hans-Josef Klauck, Volker Leppin, Bernard McGinn, Choon-Leong Seow, Hermann Spieckermann, Barry Dov Walfish, Eric J. Ziolkowski
de Gruyter (Berlin, Boston) 2011

Ancient Near East and Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

Choon-Leong Seow

The vision in Dan 7 identifies four beasts emerging from “the great sea” that four winds stirred up. This description is reminiscent of ancient mythological portrayals of cosmological combat involving various sea monsters, most notably Yamm (Sea), Nahar (River), and Litan (a multi-headed serpent, the equivalent of biblical Leviathan) in Ugaritic literature, Tiamat (primal Deep) and her denizens in Mesopotamian literature, and Apep (Greek Apophis) a serpent of the dark Netherworld. The subjugati…

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