Epic Pattern Chart
F. M. Cross suggested that the ancient epic pattern served as a subtext to the structure of numerous biblical passages, especially poetic reflections on creation and the sea crossing (see 142-144, 162-163). Namely: (a) the divine warrior battles chaos (Yam, Leviathan, Mot), (b) nature convulses when the warrior displays his wrath, (c) the warrior-god returns and becomes king among the gods, enthroned on his mountain, (d) the divine warrior utters his voice from his temple and the earth is made fertile. This activity is designed to for the student to test this idea, or at least reflect upon it, with reference to many notable biblical contexts.
Read scriptures listed in the Epic Pattern Chart (MSW) (PDF) and fill the chart according to the following five categories. Ps 29 and Exod 15 are filled in as examples (comparative chart adapted from Kloos, 49, 199-200). Based upon your work: How do the scriptural poetic witnesses to the sea crossing line up with Cross’ suggestion? How do the scriptural poetic witnesses to creation line up with Cross’ suggestion? What are the potential implications of your findings?
God’s action upon the waters (drying, dividing, piling, road through, drowning enemy, and so on) or upon a sea monster
Storm (thunder lightening, wind)
Battle (slaying of monsters)
Anxiety of nature
Kingship (enthronement, dwelling on mountain, sovereignty)
Joy of nature or his people
Kind of tradition: Creation, Redemption at Sea Crossing, historical Salvation (conquest, judges, and so on), Judgment, or Other
For further reading, see Frank Moore Cross, Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic (Harvard University Press, 1973); Carola Kloos, Yhwh’s Combat with the Sea: A Canaanite Tradition in the Religion of Ancient Israel (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1986); Yitzhak Avishur, Studies in Hebrew and Ugaritic Psalms (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1994). And, for a contrary view, see David Tsumura, Creation and Destruction: A Reappraisal of the Chaoskampf Theory in the Old Testament (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2005).
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