Walter Mattfeld mattfeld at mail.pjsnet.com
Thu Aug 2 23:02:50 EDT 2001

In my previous post on the subject of "tehom" I had noted that some scholars
posited that the Hebrews had "demythologized" the goddess Tiamat of the
Mesopotamian myths.

Musing further on the subject, I suspect that this notion may be in error.
The Hebrews may not have deliberately "demythologized" Tiamat, somebody else
at an earlier, pre-Hebrew stage may have done this.

Gibson notes that "tehom" appears in the Ugaritic texts which are dated
roughly ca. 1400-1200 BCE. From the nature of the context of the word within
the sentence I get the impression that tehom is not being portrayed as a
goddess or mythological creature. If my suspicions are correct then it
wasn't the Iron Age Hebrews who demythologized Tiamat, it had occured some
time before 1500 BCE.

Gibson (p. 159 "Ugaritic Glossary)-
thm, also meaning 'ocean' 23.30  Ugar. V no. 7l.I
thmt, also thm 'ocean' 3 C 22  17 vi 12   19 45  Ugar. V no. 7 l. 3 [Akk.
ti`amtu; or plur.]

thm 23.30 ("Shachar and Shalim")
[il.ys] i.gp ym. wysgd.gp.thm
[El went out] to the shore of the sea and advanced to the shore of the

thmtm (p.37, "Baal and Yam")
[idk.] lytn[.]pnm.`m[.i]l.mbk[.nhrm.][qrb.apq.thmtm]
[Then] indeed he set (his) face towards El at the source(s) [of the rivers].
[amid the springs of the two oceans];

J.C. L. Gibson. Canaanite Myths and Legends. Edinburgh. T. & T. Clark. Ltd.
1956, 1978, reprint 1977.

All the best,


Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld
Walldorf by Heidelberg
Baden-Wurttemburg, Germany

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