Cover image for The Dragon, the Mountain, and the Nations: An Old Testament Myth, Its Origins, and Its Afterlives By Robert D. Miller II

The Dragon, the Mountain, and the Nations

An Old Testament Myth, Its Origins, and Its Afterlives

Robert D. Miller II

BUY

$64.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-1-57506-479-6

408 pages
6" × 9"
12 b&w illustrations
2018

Explorations in Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations

The Dragon, the Mountain, and the Nations

An Old Testament Myth, Its Origins, and Its Afterlives

Robert D. Miller II

“Readers will find useful tools throughout Miller’s work, whether it is the careful development of the background of the dragon-slaying myth in ancient cultures or the myriad observations about biblical texts when examined through this lens. This is a subject that has needed sustained attention. Even where readers may not be convinced by Miller’s arguments, they will find ample material to develop and strengthen their own.”

 

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  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
The Dragon, the Mountain, and the Nations investigates the origins, manifestations, and meanings of a myth that plays a major role in the Hebrew Bible and a substantial role in the New Testament: the dragon-slaying myth.

The dragon-slaying myth has a hoary ancestry, extending back long before its appearance in the Hebrew Bible, and a vast range, spanning as far as India and perhaps even Japan. This book is a chronicle of its trajectories and permutations. The target of this study is the biblical myth. This target, however, is itself a fluid tradition, responding to and reworking extrabiblical myths and reworking its own myths. In this study, Robert Miller examines the dragon and dragon-slaying myth throughout India, the proto-Indo-European cultures, and Iran, and among the Hittites as well as other ancient Near Eastern and Mesopotamian traditions, and then throughout the Bible, including Genesis, the Psalms, Daniel, and ultimately the New Testament and the book of Revelation. He shows how the myth pervades many cultures and many civilizations and that the dragon is always conquered, despite its many manifestations. In his conclusion, Miller points out the importance of the myth as a hermeneutic for understanding key parts of biblical literature.

“Readers will find useful tools throughout Miller’s work, whether it is the careful development of the background of the dragon-slaying myth in ancient cultures or the myriad observations about biblical texts when examined through this lens. This is a subject that has needed sustained attention. Even where readers may not be convinced by Miller’s arguments, they will find ample material to develop and strengthen their own.”
“Miller has provided a great service to biblical scholars. He has assembled a great deal of evidence from within and without the Bible and clearly has a strong command of the literature. Rather than a simplistic search for parallels, he identifies the component aspects of the mythic material, then locates these mythemes in a wide variety of texts. Through this, he is able to argue for the presence of the dragon-slaying myth without suggesting wholesale borrowing or complete dependence. While scholars who see little to no Chaoskampf material in the biblical text are unlikely to be convinced by all of his examples, the volume of evidence and the care that Miller takes to employ his arguments will help to continue what has been a healthy, lively debate for over a century.”

Robert D. Miller II is Associate Professor of Old Testament at The Catholic University of America and Research Associate in the Department of Old Testament at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Introduction

Part I: East of Ginger Trees

1. India

2. Proto-Indo-Europeans

3. A Global Myth?

4. Iran

Part II: The Matter of the North

5. Hittites

6. Hurrian Influence

7. From the Libraries of Ugarit

8. Myths of Mesopotamia

Part III: Canaanite Epic and Hebrew Myth

9. The Old Testament: Overview

10. The Psalms

11. Genesis

12. The Rest of the Old Testament

13. Greek Traditions

14. Daniel

15. Second Temple Jewish Texts

Part IV: Naming the Dragon Slayer

16. The New Testament

Conclusions

Appendix

Bibliography

Indexes