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Mastering the Seven-Headed Serpent: A Stamp Seal from Hazor Provides a Missing Link Between Cuneiform and Biblical Mythology


Uehlinger, Christoph (2024). Mastering the Seven-Headed Serpent: A Stamp Seal from Hazor Provides a Missing Link Between Cuneiform and Biblical Mythology. Near Eastern Archaeology, 87(1):14-19.

Abstract

The Stamp Seals from the Southern Levant (SSSL) project is based on a comprehensive corpus, big data, and complex historical scenarios. Sometimes, though, an individual artifact stands out as a highlight in its own right. Such is the case with a stamp seal discovered recently at Tel Hazor. It is unusual in several respects, but mainly because of its spectacular base engraving. The main scene represents a hero fighting a coiled, sevenheaded serpent; it is enhanced by a series of mixed creatures and secondary motifs. This article offers a description and analysis of the object, situating its iconography in the long history of combat myths spanning from mid third-millennium southern Mesopotamia through second-millennium northern Syria to first-millennium Phoenicia and Israel. Most significant for a historian of Near Eastern mythology, the seal provides a visual missing link in the main motif’s literary transition from Late Bronze Age Ugarit to the Hebrew Bible.

Abstract

The Stamp Seals from the Southern Levant (SSSL) project is based on a comprehensive corpus, big data, and complex historical scenarios. Sometimes, though, an individual artifact stands out as a highlight in its own right. Such is the case with a stamp seal discovered recently at Tel Hazor. It is unusual in several respects, but mainly because of its spectacular base engraving. The main scene represents a hero fighting a coiled, sevenheaded serpent; it is enhanced by a series of mixed creatures and secondary motifs. This article offers a description and analysis of the object, situating its iconography in the long history of combat myths spanning from mid third-millennium southern Mesopotamia through second-millennium northern Syria to first-millennium Phoenicia and Israel. Most significant for a historian of Near Eastern mythology, the seal provides a visual missing link in the main motif’s literary transition from Late Bronze Age Ugarit to the Hebrew Bible.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology and the Study of Religion > Institute of Religious Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:200 Religion
220 The Bible
290 Other religions
890 Other literatures
930 History of ancient world (to ca. 499)
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Archeology (arts and humanities)
Social Sciences & Humanities > History
Social Sciences & Humanities > Archeology
Uncontrolled Keywords:combat myth, dragon slayer, glyptic studies, iconography and religion, visible religion, Ninurta, Ba'al, Yahweh, Leviathan, ancient Israelite religion, Hebrew Bible, Ugarit, Canaan, Hazor
Scope:Discipline-based scholarship (basic research)
Language:English
Date:1 March 2024
Deposited On:12 Mar 2024 08:13
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 03:41
Publisher:American Schools of Oriental Research
ISSN:1094-2076
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1086/727582
Related URLs:https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/727582
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID186426
  • : Project TitleStamp Seals from the Southern Levant: a multi-faceted prism for studying entangled histories in an interdisciplinary perspective
  • Content: Accepted Version
  • Language: English