Cover image for Creation and Chaos: A Reconsideration of Hermann Gunkel's Chaoskampf Hypothesis A Reconsideration of Herman Gunkel's Chaoskampf Hypothesis A Reconsideration of Herman Gunkel's Chaoskampf HypothesisA Reconsideration of Herman Gunkel's Chaoskampf Hypothesis Edited by JoAnn Scurlock and Richard Beal

Creation and Chaos

A Reconsideration of Hermann Gunkel's Chaoskampf Hypothesis A Reconsideration of Herman Gunkel's Chaoskampf Hypothesis A Reconsideration of Herman Gunkel's Chaoskampf HypothesisA Reconsideration of Herman Gunkel's Chaoskampf Hypothesis

Edited by JoAnn Scurlock and Richard Beal

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Creation and Chaos

A Reconsideration of Hermann Gunkel's Chaoskampf Hypothesis A Reconsideration of Herman Gunkel's Chaoskampf Hypothesis A Reconsideration of Herman Gunkel's Chaoskampf HypothesisA Reconsideration of Herman Gunkel's Chaoskampf Hypothesis

Edited by JoAnn Scurlock and Richard Beal

Hermann Gunkel was a scholar in the generation of the origins of Assyriology, the spectacular discovery by George Smith of fragments of the “Chaldean Genesis,” and the Babel-Bibel debate. Gunkel’s thesis, inspired by materials supplied to him by the Assyriologist Heinrich Zimmern, was to take the Chaoskampf motif of Revelation as an event that would not only occur at the end of the world but had already happened at the beginning, before Creation. In other words, in this theory, one imagines God in Genesis 1 as first having battled Rahab, Leviathan, and Yam (the forces of Chaos) in a grand battle, and only then beginning to create.

 

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Hermann Gunkel was a scholar in the generation of the origins of Assyriology, the spectacular discovery by George Smith of fragments of the “Chaldean Genesis,” and the Babel-Bibel debate. Gunkel’s thesis, inspired by materials supplied to him by the Assyriologist Heinrich Zimmern, was to take the Chaoskampf motif of Revelation as an event that would not only occur at the end of the world but had already happened at the beginning, before Creation. In other words, in this theory, one imagines God in Genesis 1 as first having battled Rahab, Leviathan, and Yam (the forces of Chaos) in a grand battle, and only then beginning to create.

The problem with Gunkel’s theory is that it did not simply identify common elements in the mythologies of the ancient Near East but imposed upon them a structure dictating the relationships between the elements, a structure that was based on inadequate knowledge and a forced interpretation of his sources. On the other hand, one is not entitled to insist that there was no cultural conversation among peoples who spent the better part of several millennia trading with, fighting, and conquering one another.

Creation and Chaos attempts to address some of these issues. The contributions are organized into five sections that address various aspects of the issues raised by Gunekl’s theories.

Preface

Introduction

Abbreviations

Part 1: Creation and Chaos

From Hesiod’s Abyss to Ovid’s rudis indigestaque moles: Chaos and Cosmos in the Babylonian “Epic of Creation” Karen Sonik

On the Theogonies of Hesiod and the Hurrians: An Exploration of the Dual Natures of Teššub and Kumarbi Dennis R. M. Campbell

Creation in the Bible and the Ancient Near East W. G. Lambert†

Searching for Meaning in Genesis 1:2: Purposeful Creation out of Chaos without Kampf JoAnn Scurlock

Part 2: Monster-Bashing Myths

The Fifth Day of Creation in Ancient Syrian and Neo-Hittite Art Douglas Frayne

Once upon a Time in Kiškiluša: The Dragon-Slayer Myth in Central Anatolia Amir Gilan

The Northwest Semitic Conflict Myth and Egyptian Sources from the Middle and New Kingdoms Joanna Töyräänvuori

Yamm as the Personification of Chaos? A Linguistic and Literary Argument for a Case of Mistaken Identity Brendon C. Benz

Part 3: Gunkel and His Times

Chaos and Creation: Hermann Gunkel between Establishing the “History of Religions School,” Acknowledging Assyriology, and Defending the Faith Steven Lundström

Where Is Eden? An Analysis of Some of the Mesopotamian Motifs in Primeval J Peter Feinman

Babel-Bible-Baal Aaron Tugendhaft

Part 4: Power and Politics

The Combat Myth as a Succession Story at Ugarit Wayne T. Pitard

What Are the Nations Doing in the Chaoskampf? Robert D. Miller II

Part 5: Kampf and Chaos

The Combat Myth in Israelite Tradition Revisited Bernard F. Batto

The Three “Daughters” of Baʿal and Transformations of Chaoskampf in the Early Chapters of Genesis Richard E. Averbeck

Part 6: Chaos and (Re)Creation

Chaoskampf Lost—Chaoskampf Regained: The Gunkel Hypothesis Revisited JoAnn Scurlock

Making All Things New (Again): Zephaniah’s Eschatological Vision of a Return to Primeval Time David Melvin

Indexes

Index of Authors

Index of Scripture

Index of Subjects

Index of Ancient Texts and Objects

Index of Words

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