The ideology of power is as much a part of modern life as in the ancient world, in which it has its long-lasting roots. Communities have always provided a supernatural sanction for the maintenance of power by the few, often dressing it up in elaborate mythic fictions, rich iconography and complex rituals. This volume presents Nicolas Wyatt's discussions of royal ideology, its mythic and ritual expressions and various literary treatments in ancient Israel, viewed from a comparative perspective. Exploring the possibility that in many of the manifestations of Israelite kingship we can detect the influence of broader cultural patterns, notably as found in Egyptian and West Semitic contexts, he considers the main early cultural influences on Israel and emphasizes the mythic dimension in which the 'divinity' of the king is a real factor.
'Over the years Professor Nicolas Wyatt, whose translation of the Ugaritic literary and religious documents is now a standard textbook, has been exploring the ancient near eastern mythological background to biblical traditions, particularly in respect of kingship. The present collection offers a sure guide through these ancient texts, often providing a new and refreshing slant while making them intelligible to the modern reader.' W.G.E. Watson, Department of Religious Studies, University of Newcastle upon Tyne 'The author, who often suggests - and risks - new interpretations, is to be congratulated on this useful and stimulating collection.' International Review of Biblical Studies
Contents: Preface; 'Araunah the Jebusite' and the throne of David; 'Jedidiah' and cognate forms as a title of royal legitimization; Cain's wife; The hollow crown: ambivalent elements in west Semitic royal ideology; Echoes of the King and his Ka: an ideological motif in the story of Solomon's birth; When Adam delved: the meaning of Genesis 3:23; 'Supposing him to be the gardener' (John 20:15): a study of the paradise motif in John; The meaning of El Roi and the mythological dimension of Genesis 16; The theogony motif in Ugarit and the Bible; The liturgical context of Psalm 19 and its mythical and ritual origins; Ilimilku's ideological programme: Ugaritic royal propaganda, and a biblical postscript; Arms and the King: the earliest allusions to the Chaoskampf motif and their implications for the interpretation of the Ugaritic and biblical traditions; Degrees of divinity: some mythical and ritual aspects of west Semitic kingship; Ilimilku the theologian: the ideological roles of Athtar and Baal in KTU 1.1 and 1.6; Marriage, mayhem and murder: an everyday story of royal folk; Bibliography; Index.