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Some Oriental Elements in Hesiod and the Orphic Cosmogonies

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image of Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions

This paper examines the oriental background of the so-called Orphic cosmogonies of ancient Greece. The first section explores the relationship between the motif of Zeus' swallowing the phallus of Uranos and a corresponding feature in the Hurrian-Hittite Song of Kumarbi. The second section examines the complex figure of Kronos, arguing all aspects of his personality can be understood better if we take account of the figure of El in Ugaritic mythology; in particular, the relationship between Kronos and the virtually homophonous and often related-figure of Khronos ("Time") can be better understood if we take account of West Semitic mythology.


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