Studying Ancient Canaanite Myths, Part 2: Ugarit? Who?

Dear Reader,

Okay, raise your hand if you have ever heard of Ugarit. Hmm . . . not very many of you. Let me ask you this, are you interested in teaching your kids biblical history? When you read that the Israelites married foreigners and worshipped the baals, do you know what that means? Well, if you don’t know as much as you’d like, journey with me to the ancient city of Ugarit and let’s learn  more.

The people of Ugarit are not people the Israelites would have known. Their city was being destroyed by the Sea Peoples around the time the Israelites entered their promised land. Ugarit was in the northern part of the Middle East on the Mediterranean coast. The Israelites entered from the west across the Jordan. To my knowledge Ugarit was never a big cultural or political center. It did not like Babylon or Assur take over the world for a time. But it is important for one big reason: a lot of ancient texts have been found there. They are clay tablets inscribed in cuneiform writing in the Semitic language called Ugaritic. It is fairly closely related to Hebrew.

And among these Ugaritic texts are myths, long story cycles about the gods and human heroes. They tell us what the Ugaritic people believed in, something of how they lived and thought. And though these may not have been Israel’s closest contacts, they are some of the best materials we have for understanding the ideas and temptations that would have faced God’s people as they entered a new, already populated land.

So, that’s the intro. Next time: The Ugaritic Myths.



2 responses to this post.

  1. […] Studying Ancient Canaanite Myths is posted at Letters From Nebby and is the second part of her introduction to the study of the myths of Ugarit.  […]


  2. […] sons fo God are clearly heavenly beings. I would add to this that other closely related cultures (Ugarit in particular) used the phrase in the same […]


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