The Maiden Warrior and the Sun Goddess in the Epic of Baal

Queen of Heaven

Historical context: Canaanite deities and the Hebrew Bible

If you’ve ever cringed a little with a superstitious fear that uttering blasphemy might get you struck by lightning, you’re recalling God as Baal, who commanded thunder in his role as Storm God of the Canaanites; if you picture God in the shining sky with clouds under his feet, you are also recalling Baal, whose primary epithet was Rider on the Clouds. En route to becoming the only God, the God of the Old Testament borrowed these characteristics from his chief rival Baal. If you are envisioning God as an old man with a beard, however, and as ruler and king of, well, everything, you are recalling another ancient Canaanite God, El, who was the Father God.  The old, bearded man on his throne in the clouds, dispensing lightning as punishment is a composite image taken from both the Canaanite Gods El…

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