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Chapter Summary

This introduction chapter of the book presents data of the tablets that has been established by correlating textual and archaeological evidence. The initial issues facing the interpretation of the Ugaritic Baal Cycle involve the length of the cycle as well as the number, order and continuity of the tablets. The folklorist Hecla Jason (1977:32) classifies the Baal Cycle as a "mythic epic" because of the epic elements involving the hero and his challenger especially in 1. 2 I and IV. Given the general acceptance of the royal character of the Baal Cycle, various approaches have been proposed to explore its underlying meaning. These views are addressed in the following order corresponding to their relative appearance over the history of the Baal Cycle's interpretation: Ritual and Seasonal Theories; Cosmogenic Interpretations; and Historical and Political Views. A synthesis of these views is offered in The Limited Exaltation of Baal.

Keywords: archaeological evidence; Cosmogenic interpretations; Historical Views; Ritual Theories; Ugaritic Baal Cycle



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