thm - tiamat??

c stirling bartholomew cc.constantine at
Fri Aug 3 22:19:13 EDT 2001

on 8/3/01 2:18 AM, ian goldsmith wrote:

> Not that I'd want to criticise any personal theories,
> but don't you think that concluding that just because
> 'thm' shares some consonantal value with 'tiamat' that
> they must be one and the same, is tentative to say the
> very least.
> This conclusion would be diametrically opposed to the
> views of any monotheistic authors of the Hebrew texts.


While I would agree that all arguments based on similar word forms are
suspect and should be avoided, I think the second part of your argument is
problematic. The use of mythological allusions and terminology in an ancient
religious text does not imply acceptance of the myths which were the source
of this terminology. A lot of English authors make allusions to the Grail
legend. Do they accept the legend? Hardly.

Having spent some time over the last ten years looking into the cosmic
combat themes that crop up in the OT and the NT, I am convinced that there
is a great deal of evidence that the the OT Canon is salted with lots of
pagan mythical allusions. This does not mean that the myths had any sort of
status with the authors of the OT books.

Anyway, there is a vast literature on this topic starting with Gunkel's
Creation & Chaos and more recently continued by a whole host of F.M. Cross's
students and students of his students, and so on. My interest in the topic
started in 1975 just after Bruce Waltke (student of FM Cross) delivered a
lectureship on Creation & Chaos. I didn't attend the lectures which in the
fall of '74 would have meant nothing to me. But I picked up a copy of the
lectures and toted them around for a decade or so before I started my own
study of the subject. It is a topic well worth doing some reading about.
Unfortunately I don't have a bibliography handy, someone else on this list
must have one however.


Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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