Late Bronze Age Gods of the Resurrection:
Osiris, El, Baal, Anat and Yahweh-Elohim
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22 August 2003
Below, a bronze statuette overlaid with gold, 13.5 centimeters in height, of a seated god usually identified as El, from late 13th century BCE Ugarit, modern Ras Shamras in northern Syria. Of interest is the beard, and the crown which resembles that worn by the bearded Egyptian dying and resurrected god, Orisis (Egyptian wsr). I personally am not aware of any myths were El dies and is resurrected. But there is a myth from Ugarit about Baal's death and resurrection.
Could perhaps this statuette be Baal Hadad, the storm god ? His "death and resurrection" might qualify him for being assimilated or associated to/with the Egyptian god Osiris ? Of further interest is that after Baal's death, his sister-lover, Anat, according to an Ugaritic myth, goes in search of him and when she learns that Mot (the personification of death) has slain and eaten Baal, she slays Mot, and carves him up into fine pieces sowing his body lie seed into the earth. Shortly after this event, the God El sees a rain cloud, and declares Baal is alive, evidently his resurrection is as a rain/storm cloud ? Anat is _also_ shown at times in art as wearing the crown of Osiris. To the degree that she sought Baal's body, like Isis sought Osiris' body, and was in part instrumental in securing his release from the underworld by slaying Mot, could she have been seen as an Osiris type, Osiris beling the restorer of the dead to life, thus she also qualifies to wear Osiris' crown ?
Of further interest is that the word "God" in the Bible is at times a rendering of the Hebrew word "El." Thus perhaps (?), Zwickel's interest in showing a Late Bronze Age rendering of the god El.
While El in the Ugaritic myths is not portrayed as a dying and resurrected god, it is of interest to note that in the vision of the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel, God or El causes the bones of Israelite dead in a valley to be brought back to life again by first adding sinew and flesh and then causing a wind to enter their bodies, giving them life (Ez 37:1--11). Some Mesopotamian hymns speak of wind as being the breath of a god. And in Genesis God's breath animates Adam. Could it be possible that Ezekiel's notion that Yahweh-Elohim's (Elohim being a "plural of majesty" derived from El) ability to bring the dead back to life be an 'echo' of the El statuette from Ugarit, wearing Osiris' crown possessing Osiris' power to cause the dead to be brought to life again ? In the Ugarit myth, El mourns Baal's death, and declares he lives again when he has a vision in which rains return to the earth ending a 7 year drought following Baal's death. Was El's _declaration_ that Baal "lives again" seen as an Osiris declaring the dead "live again" in Egyptian myth, thus the reason El wears Osiris' crown ?
Gibson on Anat's laying claim that she can give immortality to man (the hero Aqhat), alluding to his spending eternity with the resurrected Baal :
"Ask for life, O hero Aqhat, ask for life and I will give it to you, immortality and I will bestow it on you; I will cause you to count the years with Baal, with the sons of El you shall count the months. As if he were Baal when he comes alive, when men feast the living one, feast and give him drink...so I will give life to the hero Aqhat." (p. 109. "Aqhat." J. C. L. Gibson. Canaanite Myths and Legends. Edinburgh. T & T Clark, Ltd. 1956, 1978)
Anat seeks the dead Baal :
"...days passed and the damsel Anat sought him. Like the heart of a heifer yearning for her calf ...so the heart of Anat yearned after Baal. She siezed Mot...Give up my brother...with a sword she split him, with a sieve she winnowed him, with fire she burned him, with mill-stones she ground him, in a field she scattered him..." (pp. 76-77. "Baal and Mot." Gibson)
Latipan is a title of El, the "creator of creatures" and the father of the gods and of mankind, ab adm :
"for Mot has perished, and if mightiest Baal is alive, and if the prince lord of earth exists, then in a dream of Latipan the kindly god, in a vision of the creator of creatures, the heavens should rain oil, the ravines should run with honey, that I may know the mightiest Baal is alive...In a dream of Latipan the kindly god, in a vision of the creator of creatures, the heavens rained oil, the ravines ran with honey. Latipan kindly god did rejoice , he placed his feet on the footstool and parted his throat and laughed; he lifted up his voice and cried: Even I may sit down and be at ease, and my soul within me may take its ease; for mightiest Baal is alive, for the prince lord of the earth exists. El cried aloud to the virgin Anat..." (pp.77-78. "Baal and Mot." Gibson)
( For the below photo of El cf. tafel 4a. following page 48. Wolfgang Zwickel. Der Salomonische Tempel. Verlag Phillipp Von Zabern. Mainz Am Rhein. Deutschland. [Kulturgeschichte Der Alten Welt, Band 83]. ISBN 3-8053-2466-9. 1999)
Below, Osiris, wearing his distincive two-feather crown, god of the dead and of the resurrection, seated in the underworld upon his throne, accompanied by Isis and Nephthys. Before him arises a great Lotus with four mummiform gods. In Egyptian myth the righteous dead were reborn each day of a great Lotus, along with the gods, and all would ride in a solar bark or boat across the heavens with the Sun-god, by day, and return at night, to the underworld. (The picture is at the endpage, inside backcover, to vol. 2. E.A. Wallis Budge.
The Gods of the Egyptians. New York. Dover Publications. 1904, 1969)