Tannin (monster)

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Tannin (Hebrew: תנין‎) or Tunannu (Ugaritic: 𐎚𐎐𐎐 tnn, vocalized tu-un-na-nu[1]) was a sea monster in Canaanite, Phoenician, and Hebrew mythology used as a symbol of chaos and evil.[2]

Name[edit]

The name may derive from a root meaning "howling" or from coiling in a manner like smoke.[citation needed]

In modern Hebrew usage the word Tanin (תנין) means "crocodile."

Canaanite mythology[edit]

Tannin appears in the Baal Cycle as one of the servants of Yam (lit. "Sea") defeated by Baʿal (lit. "Lord")[3] or bound by his sister, ʿAnat.[4] He is usually depicted as serpentine, possibly with a double tail.[4]

Hebrew mythology[edit]

The tanninim (תַּנִּינִים) also appear in the Hebrew Bible's of Book of Genesis,[5] Exodus,[6] Deuteronomy,[7] Psalms,[9] Job,[10] Ezekiel,[11] Isaiah,[12] and Jeremiah.[13] They are explicitly listed among the creatures created by God on the fifth day of the Genesis creation narrative,[5] translated in the King James Version as "great whales".[14] The tannin is listed in the apocalypse of Isaiah as among the sea beasts to be slain by Yahweh "on that day",[15] translated in the King James Version as "the dragon".[16][n 1]

In Jewish mythology, Tannin is sometimes conflated with the related sea monsters Leviathan and Rahab.[19] Along with Rahab, "Tannin" was a name applied to ancient Egypt after the Exodus to Canaan.[2]

In modern scholarship, Tannin is sometimes associated with Tiamat and, in modern Hebrew, the name tannin means crocodile. The name has subsequently been given to three submarines in the Israeli Navy: the first, an S-class submarine formerly known as HMS Springer, was in commission from 1958 until 1972. The second, a Gal-class submarine, was in commission from 1977 until 2002. The third INS Tanin is a Dolphin-class submarine in commission since 2014.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This passage in Isaiah directly parallels another from the earlier Baal Cycle. The Hebrew passage describing the tannin takes the place of a Ugaritic one describing "the encircler"[17] or "the mighty one with seven heads" (šlyṭ d.šbʿt rašm).[18] In both the Ugaritic and Hebrew texts, it is debatable whether three figures are being described or whether the others are epithets of Lotan or Leviathan.

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Barker, William D. (2014), "Litan in Ugarit", Isaiah's Kingship Polemic: An Exegetical Study in Isaiah 24–27, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, pp. 151–167, ISBN 978-3-16-153347-1.
  • Day, John (1985). God's Conflict with the Dragon and the Sea: Echoes of a Canaanite Myth in the Old Testament. CUP Archive. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-521-25600-1.
  • Heider, George C. (1999), "Tannîn", Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, 2nd ed., Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, pp. 834–836.
  • Herrmann, Wolfgang (1999), "Baal", Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, 2nd ed., Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, pp. 132–139.
  • Uehlinger, C. (1999), "Leviathan", Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, 2nd ed., Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, pp. 511–515.