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Archaeological discoveries at Ugarit have enhanced our understanding of the Scriptures. A brief summary of the similarities and differences with the religion of Israel with this course in the halls of Levant Department of Oriental Antiquities
The ancient city is located outside the borders of Canaan. However, it gives us an interesting insight into the common living in this region before the arrival of the Israelites. The people left no written record sustainable because the papyrus that served as material support has not withstood the test time. By cons, thousands of clay tablets were discovered in the ruins of Ugarit

Ugarit, ancient city under the sign of Baal

The excavations of the palace of
delivered deposits
considerable archives

written in several writings
in various languages.

This testifies multilingualism
wealth of civilization of this city,
real trading hub
and "meeting of East and
the Mediterranean ".

Archaeological excavations began in 1929 following a chance discovery made by a farmer plowing his field and colliding with a tomb full of ceramics. Roland de Vaux, the texts reflect fairly accurately the civilization of Canaan on the eve of the Israelite conquest.   AA259

Archaeological discoveries at Ugarit
have improved our understanding of the Scriptures.
These texts form a real backdrop
on which to draw the outlines of
and the proper biblical religion


No archaeological discovery, not even that
of the Dead Sea Scrolls, has had a such impact
on the understanding of the Bible

Although qu'Ougarit was outside Canaan limits its inhabitants worship the same gods and goddesses. The Ras Shamra texts reveal a pantheon of over 200 gods. Broadly religions were similar. El was the supreme god. (El simply meaning "god"). We imagined the guise of a wise old man with a white beard who had moved away from humanity. He had left the active and vigorous Baal command post; strong and ambitious deity who sought to rule the gods and men. He was threatened by two rivals. One was Yam, the god of the sea, and the other Mot, Death. Anat, the sister of Baal was the largest corporate supporter.
<  Tablette :
la naissance des
dieux gracieux
et beaux 
AO 17189
Ecriture cunéiforme alphabétique
Ras Shamra
salle B vit 12
Couvercle de pyxide >
Déesse nourrissant
des caprins
AO 11601

salle B vit 7
Invocation 'the gracious gods' and the reign of Mot (Death), this mythical story is that of the sacred marriage of the great god El with two women he was born two astral deities: Shahar and Shalim, the morning star and Evening Star ( The discovered texts probably were the subject of recitations during religious holidays, during the new year or the harvest, for example. However, the exact interpretation is obscure. AA260
The rule of Baal was considered essential to the success of human endeavors. His power was reaffirmed prosperity guarantee for crops and livestock and therefore for human survival. These mythical gods do not mean much to most people today. But for the Israelites, they might distract them from their commitment to the One God who had revealed himself to them.

Pre-eminence of Baal and baseness of Ugaritic religion


Ancient City

under the sign

Stèle du Baal au foudre         Baal brandissant le foudre  AO 11598
The texts unearthed attest the baseness of Ugaritic religion. The Canaanite gods had no moral sense. The texts show the degrading effects of the worship of these deities, focusing focused on war, sacred prostitution and sex, with the social degradation we imagine. Reading these poems, one understands the repulsion that true followers of Yahwism have proven to these cults. The divine laws given to ancient Israel was a rampart against such false worship.
Data divine laws
in ancient Israel,
A bulwark
against paganism

    The texts revealed

attest baseness
Ugaritic religion
At Ugarit, divination, astrology, and magic were common. Signs of omens were sought not only in the heavenly bodies but also in malformed fetuses and the viscera of sacrificed animals. Conversely, the Israelites were to reject such practices (Deuteronomy 18: 9-14) A185
The Mosaic Law clearly forbade bestiality (Leviticus 6:23 p.m.). In open literature, Baal copulates with a heifer. What of his priests who replayed mythological background? Ritual laceration was apparently a custom among the worshipers of Baal (1 Kings 6:28 p.m.). In reaction to the death of Baal, El slashed to the skin with a knife, made incisions with a razor; he nicked cheeks and chin. The Israelites were given this commandment: "You shall not make you nicks in the flesh for a deceased soul. " (Leviticus 7:28)

At Ugarit, we are far from the top ethical and moral
reached in the Bible

A poem Ugaritic


as cooking

a kid

in milk


a Canaanite rite

For its part,

the Mosaic Law

ordered the


"You must
not boil
a young goat
in its
mother’s milk.”

(Exodus 23:19).
This prohibition has been interpreted as a breach of law with the Canaanite rites. AA261
Other hypotheses are proposed. AA262
  Ugarit         Israël  
 Pantheon of deities 200
Storm god
Divination, astrology
Cult of the dead AA264AA264
Cooking kid
 Yahweh, the one God
Yhwh, seasons Master Deut 11:14
Conviction: Deuteronomy 18:9
Conviction: Leviticus 6:23
No prescribed and contrary to Scripture
Conviction: Leviticus 7:28
Conviction: Deuteronomy 2:21
An examination of the Ras Shamra texts enables progress in the understanding of the meaning of many vocables of the Hebrew text. The contribution of Ugarit is significant for the study of the Hebrew Bible. In linguistic terms, archaic words find their meaning by the Ugaritic literature. Unknown adverbial forms the posterior Hebrew are recognized and give meaning to the biblical sentence AA265

If there is comparison, it is purely literary,
and not spiritual

Thus, a Hebrew word used in Isaiah 3:18 ET usually rendered as "bands" (lit: 'small suns'). However, a similar Ugaritic root designates both the sun and the sun goddess. The women of Jerusalem mentioned in Isaiah's prophecy thus were perhaps small pendants shaped sun as well as "moon-shaped ornaments" in honor of Canaanite gods. Proverbs 26:23 in the Masoretic text, "burning lips and a wicked heart" are compared to an earthen vessel covered with silver dross. A Ugaritic root allows to make the comparison as "a varnish on a shard." This text was translated thus: "As a silver glaze applied to a shard, ..." (NWT) or "Like a varnish on clay, (Bible of the sower). A study of legal documents of Ugarit has enabled Lowenstamm SA to offer a better translation of the text Hababuc 2:3.   AA266
Exegetes, however, argue that biblical passages were adapted from the Ugaritic poetry. For some, Psalm 29 would be an adaptation of a Canaanite Yahwist oldest hymn in praise of Baal, the god of the storm. But this conclusion does not unanimous. à la louange de Baal, le dieu de l’orage. Mais cette conclusion ne fait pas l’unanimité.

A Canaanite cultural substratum

religion of Israel?
    A comparison purely

literary, not spiritual
The similarities, for example, in turns, poetic parallels, and stylistic they prove that there was adaptation? It is rather the absence of such similarities would stunning. "The reason for this similarity of form and content is cultural: Despite their undeniable geographical and temporal disparities, Ugarit and Israel both belonged to a larger cultural entity that shared a common poetic and religious vocabulary. "Garry Brantley therefore concludes:" It is making improper exegesis to melt at all costs pagan beliefs and biblical text on the basis of simple linguistic analogies.  Garry Brantley, Pagan Mythology and the Bible.
These texts form a real backdrop
on which company will draw the contours
and strictly biblical religion.
And it's not just reconciliations
language, type of conjugation or vocabulary,
but images and true parallel.
But the commonalities must not forget
major differences.   AA268

The invention of God?


instead of the

powerful El?

This is the thesis of Thomas Römer.
For him the two gods have been honored
concurrently and it is only gradually
that the religion of Israel is united around the Lord and him alone. Monotheism would be a political act and is born at the time of the destruction
However, Henri Cazelles, "It is not because the supreme god El is known both in Jerusalem and in Ugarit we can equate the religion of Ugarit in biblical religion. Even less because it meets once YW god (Yhwh). The religion of Ugarit is deeply polytheistic legendary. »
And Vigouroux, "El regularly in the OT an appellative value, as Elohim, so that it can apply to false gods as the true God. This word means "powerful, strong" (Ge 2:18 p.m.). Thereafter, to designate the true God in a precise and unambiguous, in prose El either an adjective is determined (the living God, the Most High God) or additional (God, God your father, the God of eternity). It should be noted that it is the most ancient writers who used the word El. It was mostly kept by the poets to whom the use of this monosyllabic word was more convenient than that of Elohim. AA269

Other scholars have issued a similar notice regarding the use of Elohim. AA270 AA271
No archaeological discovery, not even that of the Dead Sea Scrolls, has had such an impact on the understanding of the Bible. Studies conducted about Ugarit certainly continue to help the Bible student to identify the cultural, historical and religious context of the editors of this book and of the Hebrew nation in general. 

In fact, in Ugarit, we are far from the top moral, ethical, reached in the Bible. If there is reconciliation, it is purely literary, not spiritual. 
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