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Politics and Time in the Baal Cycle

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AbstractThis essay considers the Ugaritic Baal Cycle in light of Mircea Eliade’s ideas about history and primordial archetypes. Unlike the Babylonian poem Enuma elish with which it is so often compared, the Baal Cycle does not depict a primordial combat and so does not root the political rule of today in the overcoming of a prior chaos. The Ugaritic poem adopts an attitude towards politics that is at odds with the one taken by the Babylonian creation narrative and championed by Eliade in his celebration of what he called “archaic ontology.” Instead of providing a means to overcome the contingency of historical becoming, the Baal Cycle embraces the historical aspect of political rule.

Affiliations: 1: New York University, URL:


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