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Danel

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Danel

Danel was a culture hero who appears in an incomplete Ugaritic text of the fourteenth century BCE[1] at Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra), Syria, where the name is rendered DN'IL, "El is judge".[2]

Danel

The text in Corpus Tablettes Alphabetiques [CTA] 17–19 is often referred to as the Epic of Aqhat. Danel was depicted as "judging the cause of the widow, adjudicating the case of the fatherless" in the city gate.[3] He passed through trials: his son Aqhat was destroyed but apparently in the missing conclusion was revived or replaced by Danel's patron god, Rp'u, who sits and judges with Hadad and Astarte and is clearly identical to El. "This is significant," John Day remarked[4] "since the Old Testament identifies El with Yahweh and did not have the scruples about so doing which it had with Baal."[5]

The three tablets bearing the story of Danel in about 400 lines break off before the story is completed. Danel, a leader, has no son and engages in an incubation rite; on the seventh day Baal induces the other deities to intercede with El, who takes pity, blesses Danel and grants him a son, Aqhat. Aqhat is presented with a bow by the craftsman deity Kothar-wa-Khasis. The goddess Anat desires the bow and makes several tries unsuccessfully to obtain it, offering even immortality; Aqhat calls her offer spurious, since old age and death are man's common lot. Anat with the consent of El, launches her attendant in the form of a hawk to steal back the bow; however, in the event, the bow is broken and lost in the sea, and Aqhat dies. The bloodshed brings drought to the land and mourning. Aqhat's sister Pagat seeks vengeance, but discovers that the killer she has contracted is the very murderer of her brother. Here the narrative is interrupted. It is generally surmised that in the missing ending, with the help of Danel's patron god, Aqhat's remains are recovered from the eagle that has devoured them.

The text was published and translated in 1936 by Charles Virolleaud[6] and has been extensively analysed since then.[7]

Danel and the Book of Ezekiel

The

Texts in the

T.E. Gaston argues that there are reasons to doubt the identification of Danel with the Danel of Ezekiel. Firstly, Danel is never described as wise or righteous. Secondly, given he was a Baal-worshiper it is unlikely that a strict Yahwist like Ezekiel would have considered Danel to be righteous. Thirdly, over eight hundred years separate the Aqhat text and the book of Ezekiel, and Danel is not mentioned in any Jewish source in the intervening period.[19]

On the other hand, it is argued that Danel would fit the pattern of being an ancient non-Israelite like Job and Noah. Ezekiel's literary arrangement may also support this position. Yahweh has compared Judah with foreign nations before (

Recent uses

The name Danel has been given to one of the craters on Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter.

Notes

References

  • Coogan, M.D. Stories from Ancient Canaan (Philadelphia) 1978:27–47
  • Day, John. "The Daniel of Ugarit and Ezekiel and the Hero of the Book of Daniel", Vetus Testamentum 30.2 (April 1980:174–184)
  • Gibson, J.C.L. Canaanite Myths and Legends (Edinburgh) 1978.
  • Herdner, Andrée. Corpus des tablettes cunéiformes alphabétiques découvertes à Ras Shamra-Ugarit, en 1929 à 1939 (Paris 1963) (CTA 17–19).
  • Maralit, Baruch. The Ugaritic poem of AQHT: Text, Translation, Commentary (Berlin: de Gruyter) 1989. A highly idiosyncratic commentary and interpretation.
  • Walton, John H. Ancient Israelite Literature in Its Cultural Context: A Survey of Parallels, "Personal Archives and Epics": Canaanite .2 (Zondervan) 1994:49.

External links

  • The Ugaritic poems of Keret and Aqhat: a bibliography As of 1998.
  • Gold Bullion business that base their company ethics on Danel
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