With a great sense of pride, I inform about the third thesis utilizing the EvT system (now in the Legacy section). Julia Miążek, a student of the Comparative Studies of Civilisations, focused on the biblical aquatic monsters and analyzed them from the perspective of Mircea Eliade's water symbolism thus contributing to version 003 Goel of the database. What is more, she has convincingly shown how - with some fine-tuning and quantification - it is possible to rejuvenate the classical ideas of Religious Studies.
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Sea Monsters in the Hebrew Bible from the Perspective of Mircea Eliade’s Aquatic Symbolism. A Quantitative and Qualitative Study.
This paper is a summary of the study on sea monsters in the Hebrew Bible, conducted using tools from the field of digital humanities. The main question was whether sea monsters reflect the aspects of aquatic symbolism described by Mircea Eliade, and consequently, what can be concluded about their features and attitude towards Yahweh and his people. To answer this question, the figures of monsters were analyzed from the perspective of the theses advanced by his works. To recover the necessary data, the studied sea monsters were included in the electronic database of supernatural entities in the Hebrew Bible and assigned specific aspects of aquatic symbolism, constructed on the base of Mircea Eliade’s works. As the result, it was possible to obtain the numerical data, and consequently, to draw conclusions concerning the image of sea monsters in the Hebrew Bible and the aspects of aquatic symbolism they represent. Accordingly, the sea monsters are generally described as hostile and insubordinate to God. The prevailing aspect of aquatic symbolism represented by their figures is chaoskampf, the tradition of cosmic combat between a weather deity and an aquatic creature, so prevalent in the literature of the Ancient Near East. The second most represented aspect is their existence in illo tempore – sea monsters are usually disconnected from the present time and are often located in the context of semi-legendary cosmogonic narratives by the authors of the Hebrew Bible. The least represented aspects of the aquatic symbolism, although the most accentuated by Eliade himself, is that of the life and death ambivalence. This suggests that the popular death-rebirth aspect of water is not fully applicable in the case of sea monsters in the Hebrew Bible. As result, the present study shows both the advantages and the limitations of Eliade’s aquatic symbolism.
Keywords: Mircea Eliade, Hebrew Bible, sea monsters, aquatic symbolism, chaoskampf, digital humanities.