Term paper Topic:i Religious Studie

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Write a 8–10 page research paper.  Include at least six sources, and list these sources in a separate bibliography attached at the end of the paper.

Cosmogonies and their purpose in ancient Near Eastern Cultures:

The discovery of creation accounts in cuneiform documents from Mesopotamia led to the comparative analysis of the Hebrew Bible due to perceived similarities in the Book of Genesis.  Since this discovery it has been popular in scholarship to compare Genesis 1 with Enuma Elish; however, however the biblical creation account is less often compared with the Ba‘al Cycle from Ugarit.  The Ugaritic epic is a combat myth that describes the god Ba‘al’s struggle with the forces of chaos.  As such, the Ugaritic text is most often compared with Exodus 15, which recounts God’s victory over the Sea.  Yet, there are motifs in the Ba‘al Cycle that also underlie the story in Genesis.  In Ba‘al’s quest for kingship, the struggle for order versus chaos is clear and Ba‘al’s efforts serve to establish the cosmology of Ugarit’s pantheon.  Ultimately, Enuma Elish and Ba‘al Cycle share a similar cosmogony with Genesis, one that was common in the ancient Near East but radically different from our own modern perspective.  Analyze the literary and narrative structure of Gen 1 and compare it with the Babylonian and Ugaritic creation stories and combat myths (use the translations found Dalley [1989] and in the Context of Scripture [COS 1] series).  The purpose of this assignment is essentially two-fold: describe the structure and meaning of Genesis 1 and discuss its relationship with the Babylonian and Ugaritic stories.  In the course of your discussion, answer the following questions:
Can you identify and explain the cosmogony in Genesis?
In the process, can you explain the function of cosmogony as a concept in Enuma Elish and the Ba‘al Cycle?
How do the differences in all three accounts relate to their distinct contexts, respectively, and what does this say about the sense and meaning of the cosmogony (i.e., what is being created)?
What does a close reading of the sources reveal about the ancient conception of cosmogony as well as ideas of order versus chaos?  In your discussion of Genesis 1, comment on the reasons why scholars delineate different sources in the biblical account of creation (Genesis 1 and 2), and try to compare the individual ideology of each source to the Near Eastern texts.

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