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SBL 2008 Paper

March 22, 2008

Like Kevin and Alan I’ve also received word that my paper has been accepted for this year’s SBL National in Boston. I’ll presenting the following in the Ugaritic Studies and Northwest Semitic Epigraphy section:

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: Seeing Gods in CAT 1.90, 1.164 and 1.168

Within the larger corpus of Ugaritic rituals, CAT 1.90 1.164 and 1.168 constitute a distinct group. These texts contain unique rites in which the king “sees” or “visits” (√PNY) specific deities. Scholars are divided as to what these rites entail, how they function and what purpose they serve in the Ugaritic cult. The rituals have been characterized variously as contemplation rites, visitation rites, and oracular/divination rites. The present paper posits a new way forward by examining these texts within the larger social and political world of the Late Bronze Age, in which Ugarit was a small kingdom always beholden to one of the “Great Kings.” These ritual texts, where the king sees or visits the deity, have close affinities to the covenant stipulations placed upon the Ugaritic kings by their Hittite suzerains. Additional specific ritual actions in the texts confirm this understanding by using movements and gestures elsewhere equated specifically with deference to a suzerain covenant partner rather than worship of a deity. This new understanding of these texts provides a ritual correlation to the limited kingship observed in Ugaritic mythological texts such as the Baʿlu cycle and contributes new insights into the mechanics of the cult at Ugarit.

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