The Poetry Of Ugarit And Israel -- By: Peter C. Craigie

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 022:1 (NA 1971)
Article: The Poetry Of Ugarit And Israel
Author: Peter C. Craigie


The Poetry Of Ugarit And Israel

P. C. Craigie

* Delivered at Tyndale House, Cambridge, July 1970.
In addition to the standard forms of abbreviation, the following abbreviations used in this paper:-
UF. 1 Ugarit-Forschungen 1 (1969).
Ug. 5 Ugaritica 5 (1968).
UT C. H. Gordon, Ugaritic Textbook (1965).
CTA A. Herdner, Corpus des tablettes en cunéiformes alphabetiques (1963).
Note that in most cases, references to the Ugaritic texts will follow CTA, unless the text has been published at a later date, in which case the numbering follows that of the initial publication.

The year 1970 marks the fortieth anniversary of the first translation of Ugaritic texts from Ras Shamra. During this period, the increasing numbers of texts have been carefully studied, not only as a subject in their own right, but also in relation to their broader Near Eastern setting. And if interest in the subject may have waned from time to time, then additional stimulus has been provided by fresh finds, either at Ras Shamra or even at sites in Palestine.1

Since the early years following the discoveries, the value of the Ugaritic texts has been recognized for Old Testament studies2 and points of contact have been examined in a number of areas. The topic of this paper is one particular aspect of the larger subject-matter, namely the comparative study of Ugaritic and Hebrew literature. Since the Ugaritic literature in the proper sense is all poetic in form, the topic of the paper may be more closely defined as the comparative study of poetry.3

Comparative literary studies may be conducted with a number

of ends in view. They may be undertaken for aesthetic purposes only, as, for example, the literary evaluation of Old Testament literature in the context of literature from Egypt and Mesopotamia.4 But more often, comparative studies of literature have as their focus the matter of literary relationships, which are in turn significant for the larger questions of cultural and religious relationships in a given area. The majority of comparative studies of Hebrew and Ugaritic poetry have had as their objective the clarification of Hebrew dependence on, or relationship to, Canaanite literature (as it is represented by the Ugaritic texts).

Comparative literary studies, when they are conducted for aesthetic purposes, need not be too closely controlled. However, when the comparison is to serve as a basis for cultu...

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