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Blood and the Nations in Ritual and Myth

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In my book Mythology and Lament (2004) I suggested that the oracles about the nations might have had their Sitz im Leben in the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement (more properly called the Day of Purgation) as this developed into the celebration of the Year of Jubilee. The present paper is an initial exploration of that possibility linking ritual, myth and stories about the elimination of the enemy. Anat's blood bath (KTU I 3 ii) is seen as having the same purpose as Lev. xvi in terms of cleansing the sanctuary through blood rites which, in the case of Anat, means the slaughter of the unspecified foe. Exod. xvii 8-16 is found to be a narrative that applies the same principles and the same ritual setting to the slaughter of a supposed foe. It is suggested that the oracles about the nations fit into the same mythological/ritual setting.

Affiliations: 1: Tayport, Scotland


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