The pantheon of gods assembles to battle the chaos monster to protect their territory and kingdom. When the waters of the heavens part, the sea dragon of chaos breaks through and leaves destruction in its wake. The pantheon fights the sea dragon and its monster allies until it is stopped in its tracks by the mighty storm god.
Those who are educated in ancient Near Eastern mythopoeia will recognize this storyline as the Canaanite epic of Baal and Leviathan or the Babylonian epic of Marduk and Tiamat the sea dragon. But what they may not know is that it is also the storyline of the 2012 Marvel blockbuster movie, The Avengers. The purpose of bringing up this point is to call attention to the modern relevancy of this ancient narrative before we descend into the turbulent sea of ancient mythological memes and motifs that are too quickly written off as petty scholarly obsession with obscure archaic minutia that fail to connect to our lives in the modern world. Leviathan vs. the Storm God is still a tale we are retelling today in cultures both religious and secular.
The purpose of this post will be to take a closer look at that ancient Near Eastern narrative of divine combat as it was both appropriated and subverted by the Hebrew authors of the Bible as a polemic for their worldview. Continue reading