Leviathan

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Leviathan

Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 1:21 am

Leviathan

by Micha F. Lindemans
Literally, "coiled". In the Bible, and especially the Old Testament, the Leviathan is some sort of chaos animal in the shape of a crocodile or a serpent. In other bible texts it is taken to mean a whale or dolphin, because the animal is there described as living in the sea. Later the Leviathan became a symbol of evil, an anti-divine power (some sort of devil) which will be destroyed on Judgement Day.
The Leviathan appears in more than one religion. In Canaanite mythology and literature, it is a monster called Lotan, 'the fleeing serpent, the coiling serpent, the powerful with the seven heads'. It was eventually killed by Baal. The Leviathan is also the Ugaritic god of evil.
"This great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein."
-- Ps. civ, 25-26

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Re: Leviathan

Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 1:21 am

Leviathan


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.




This page is about the biblical creature; for other uses, see Leviathan (disambiguation).
"The Destruction of Leviathan," an engraving made in 1865 by Gustave Doré. The engraving depicts God slaying the legendary Leviathan, a sea monster. Doré was inspired by Isaiah 27:1: "In that day, the Lord will punish with His sword, His fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; He will slay the monster of the sea."



Leviathan (לִוְיָתָן "Twisted; coiled", Standard Hebrew Livyatan, Tiberian Hebrew Liwyāṯān) was a Biblical sea monster referred to in passing in the Old Testament (Psalms 74:13-14; Job 41; Isaiah 27:1).
The word leviathan has become synonymous with any large monster or creature.
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Judaism


The word "Leviathan" appears five times in the Bible:
1) Book of Isaiah 27:1: "In that day the Lord with his hard, great and strong sword will punish the Leviathan the slant serpent, and Leviathan the torturous serpent...".
2) Psalms 74:14: "Thou didst crush the heads of the Leviathan, thou didst give him for food to the desert people."
3) Psalms 104:26: "O Lord, how manifold thy works, in wisdom you have created them all. So is this great and wide sea... there go the ships and the Leviathan which you have created to play with";
4) Book of Job 3:8 "Lo let the night be solitary, let no joyful cry be heard in it. Let them curse it who curse the day who are ready to awake the Leviathan";
5) Book of Job 41:1-10: "Can you draw out a Leviathan with a hook or press down its tongue with a cord? Canst thou put a hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a bridal ring? Will he make many supplications to thee? Will he speak soft words to thee? Will he make a covenant with thee? To take him for thy servant forever? Will thou play with him as with a bird? Or wilt thou bind him for thy girls? Will the tradesmen heap up payment for him?... Lay thy hand upon him, thou will no more think of fighting. Behold the hope of him is in vain, shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? None is so fierce that dare stir him up. who then is able to stand before me?"
The word Leviathan is also mentioned in Rashi's commentary on Genesis 1:21: "God created the great sea monsters - Taninim." Jastrow translates the word "Taninim" as a "sea monster, crocodile or large snake". Rashi comments: "According to legend this refers to the Leviathan and its mate. God created a male and female Leviathan, then killed the female and salted it for the righteous, for if the Leviathans were to procreate the world could not stand before them."
In the Talmud, the Leviathan is mentioned a number of times:
1) Avoda Zara (3b): "Rav Yehuda says, there are twelve hours in a day. The first three hours God sits and learns the Torah, the second three hours he sits and judges the world. The third three hours God feeds the entire world... the fourth three hour period God plays with the Leviathan as it is written: "the Leviathan which you have created to play with".
2) Moed Katan (25b): "Rav Ashi said to Bar Kipok: what will be said at my funeral? He answered: "If a flame can fall a cedar, what hope does a small tree have? If a Leviathan can be hooked and hauled to land, what hope has a fish in a puddle?"
The festival of Sukkot (Festival of Booths) concludes with a prayer recited upon leaving the sukkah (booth): "May it be your will, Lord our God and God of our forefathers, that just as I have fulfilled and dwelled in this sukkah, so may I merit in the coming year to dwell in the sukkah of the skin of Leviathan. Next year in Jerusalem."
A commentary on this prayer in the Artscroll prayer-book (p. 725) adds: "The Leviathan was a monstrous fish created on the fifth day of Creation. Its story is related at length in the Talmud Baba Bathra 74b, where it is told that the Leviathan will be slain and its flesh served as a feast to the righteous in [the] Time to Come, and its skin used to cover the tent where the banquet will take place."
There is another religious hymn recited on the festival of Shavuot (celebrating the giving of the Torah), known as Akdamut, wherein it says: "...The sport with the Leviathan and the ox [Behemoth]...When they will interlock with one another and engage in combat, with his horns the Behemoth will gore with strength, the fish [Leviathan] will leap to meet him with his fins, with power. Their Creator will approach them with his mighty sword [and slay them both]." Thus, "from the beautiful skin of the Leviathan, God will construct canopies to shelter the righteous, who will eat the meat of the Behemoth [ox] and the Leviathan amid great joy and merriment, at a huge banquet that will be given for them." Some rabbinical commentators say these accounts are allegorical. (Artscroll siddur, p. 719).
Legend has it that in the banquet after Armageddon, the carcass of the leviathan will be served as a meal, along with the behemoth and the ziz.
Leviathan may also be interpreted as the sea itself, with its counterparts behemoth being the land and ziz being the air and space. Some scholars have interpreted Leviathan, and other references to the sea in the Old Testament, as highly metaphorical references to seafaring marauders who once terrorized the Kingdom of Israel. Others liken the mention to Tiamat and other similar monsters who represented the sea as a foe to the gods in myths of nearby cultures.[edit]

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Re: Leviathan

Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 1:21 am

Christian


The Christian interpretation of Leviathan is often considered to be a demon associated with Satan or the Devil, and held by some to be the same monster as Rahab (Isaiah 51:9). The Biblical references to Leviathan appear to have evolved from a Canaanite legend involving a confrontation between Hadad (Baal) and a seven headed sea monster named Lotan which Hadad defeats, and they also resemble the Babylonian creation epic "Enuma Elish" in which the storm god Marduk slays his mother, the sea monster and goddess of chaos and creation Tiamat and creates the earth and sky from the two halves of her corpse.
Some biblical scholars considered Leviathan to represent the pre-existent forces of chaos. In Psalm 74:13-14 it says "it was You who drove back the sea with Your might, who smashed the heads of the monsters in the waters; it was You who crushed the heads of Leviathan, who left him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. (JPS edition)" God drove back the waters of the pre-existent Earth (Genesis 1:2 "the earth being unformed and void with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water-" [JPS edition]) and destroyed the chaotic marine monster Leviathan in order to shape the unformed and void Earth in his liking.
Leviathan also appears in the Apocryphal Book of Enoch, giving the following description of this monster's origins there mentioned as being female, as opposed to the male Behemoth:
And that day will two monsters be parted, one monster, a female named Leviathan in order to dwell in the abyss of the ocean over the fountains of water; and (the other), a male called Behemoth, which holds his chest in an invisible desert whose name is Dundayin, east of the garden of Eden. - 1 Enoch 60:7-8
Some interpreters suggest that Leviathan is a symbol of mankind in opposition to God, claiming that it and beasts mentioned in the books of Daniel and Revelation should be interpreted as metaphors.
Leviathan is also sometimes said to have been of the order of Seraphim. According to the writings of Father Sebastien Michaelis, Balberith, a demon who allegedly possessed Sister Madeleine at Aix-en-Provence, obligingly told the priest not only the other devils possessing the nun, but added the special saints whose function was to oppose them. Leviathan was one devil that was named.
Some medieval authors considered Leviathan to be grand admiral of the maritime regions of Hell.[edit]


Use as a generic term for sea monster


During sea-faring's Golden Age, European sailors saw Leviathan as a gigantic whale-like sea monster, usually a sea serpent, that devoured whole ships by swimming around the vessels so quickly as to create a whirlpool.
Leviathan is also the title of Thomas Hobbes' seminal work on the social contract and the creation of an ideal state - the Commonwealth. A lot of work has gone into deciding why he named his book the "Leviathan" and one of prime causes of this is the influence and fear in England of the mighty Spanish Armada that ruled the seas before being successfully defeated by Elizabeth's navy in 1588. The state is frequently referred to as "Leviathan" in modern anti-statist literature (e.g. much of the contemporary literature at the Ludwig von Mises Institute), likely on account of this.
The term "Leviathan" is often used as a generic term for anything large and all consuming.
Partly due to the influence of Herman Melville's classic, Moby Dick, the Leviathan has come to be associated by many with the Sperm Whale. An example of this is in Disney's depiction of Pinocchio's being swallowed (a la Jonah in the Bible) by a Sperm Whale, despite the fact that in the original, Pinocchio was swallowed by a "Pesce-cane", translated as "dog-fish" or "shark".
In his book, In Search of Prehistoric Survivors, cryptozoologist Dr. Karl Shuker considers the Leviathan to be a myth inspired, at least in part, by sightings of a Mosasaur-type sea monster. Bernard Heuvelmans, in his book In the Wake of Sea Serpents (Dans le sillage des monstres marins) considered the entity to be of the "Marine centipede" type.
Some sources claim a similarity between Leviathan and the seven-headed Naga of Indian and Southeast Asian mythology.

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