Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Importance of Ugarit to the Genesis



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Ugarit Corbel.jpg
Entrance to the Royal Palace of Ugarit
Ugarit is located in Near East
Shown within Near East
Alternative nameRas Shamra (Arabicرأس شمرة‎)
LocationLatakia Governorate, Syria
RegionFertile Crescent
Coordinates35.602°N 35.782°E
Foundedc. 6000 BCE
Abandonedc. 1190 BCE
PeriodsNeolithicLate Bronze Age
EventsBronze Age Collapse
Site notes
Excavation dates1928–present
ArchaeologistsClaude F. A. Schaeffer
Public accessYes

Ugarit (/jˈɡɑːrɪt, -/;[1] Ugaritic𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚ʼUgartArabicأُوغَارِيت‎ Ūġārīt or أُوجَارِيت Ūǧārīt) was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugaritic texts.[2] Its ruins are often called Ras Shamra[3] after the headland where they lie.

Ugarit had close connections to the Hittite Empire, sent tribute to Egypt at times, and maintained trade and diplomatic connections with Cyprus (then called Alashiya),[4][5] documented in the archives recovered from the site and corroborated by Mycenaean and Cypriot pottery found there. The polity was at its height from c. 1450 BCE until its destruction in c. 1200 BCE; this destruction was possibly caused by the mysterious Sea Peoples or internal struggle. The kingdom would be one of the many dismantled during the Bronze Age Collapse.


Ras Shamra lies on the Mediterranean coast, some 11 kilometres (7 mi) north of Latakia, near modern Burj al-Qasab.

Origins and the second millennium

A tomb in the Royal palace's courtyard

Neolithic Ugarit was important enough to be fortified with a wall early on, perhaps by 6000 BCE, though the site is thought to have been inhabited earlier. Ugarit was important perhaps because it was both a port and at the entrance of the inland trade route to the Euphrates and Tigris lands.[citation needed] The city reached its heyday between 1800 and 1200 BCE, when it ruled a trade-based coastal kingdom, trading with Egypt, Cyprus, the Aegean, Syria, the Hittites, and much of the eastern Mediterranean.[6]

The first written evidence mentioning the city comes from the nearby city of Ebla, c. 1800 BCE. Ugarit passed into the sphere of influence of Egypt, which deeply influenced its art. Evidence of the earliest Ugaritic contact with Egypt (and the first exact dating of Ugaritic civilization) comes from a carnelian bead identified with the Middle Kingdom pharaoh Senusret I, 1971–1926 BCE. A stela and a statuette from the Egyptian pharaohs Senusret III and Amenemhet III have also been found. However, it is unclear at what time these monuments were brought to Ugarit. Amarna letters from Ugarit c. 1350 BCE record one letter each from Ammittamru INiqmaddu II, and his queen.[citation needed] From the 16th to the 13th century BCE, Ugarit remained in regular contact with Egypt and Alashiya (Cyprus).[citation needed]

In the second millennium BCE, Ugarit's population was Amorite, and the Ugaritic language probably has a direct Amoritic origin.[7] The kingdom of Ugarit may have controlled about 2,000 km2 on average.[7]

During some of its history it would have been in close proximity to, if not directly within the Hittite Empire.


Destructions at Gibala-Tell Tweini
Harbour town Gibala-Tell Tweini and the Sea People destruction layer.[8]
Gibala-Tell Tweini. Storage jars found in the Early Iron Age destruction layer.[8]

The last Bronze Age king of Ugarit, Ammurapi (circa 1215 to 1180 BCE), was a contemporary of the last known Hittite king, Suppiluliuma II. The exact dates of his reign are unknown. However, a letter[9] by the king is preserved, in which Ammurapi stresses the seriousness of the crisis faced by many Near Eastern states due to attacks. Ammurapi pleads for assistance from the king of Alashiya, highlighting the desperate situation Ugarit faced:

My father, behold, the enemy's ships came (here); my cities(?) were burned, and they did evil things in my country. Does not my father know that all my troops and chariots(?) are in the Land of Hatti, and all my ships are in the Land of Lukka? ... Thus, the country is abandoned to itself. May my father know it: the seven ships of the enemy that came here inflicted much damage upon us.[10]

Eshuwara, the senior governor of Cyprus, responded:

As for the matter concerning those enemies: (it was) the people from your country (and) your own ships (who) did this! And (it was) the people from your country (who) committed these transgression(s)...I am writing to inform you and protect you. Be aware![11]

The ruler of Carchemish sent troops to assist Ugarit, but Ugarit had been sacked. A letter sent after Ugarit had been destroyed said:

When your messenger arrived, the army was humiliated and the city was sacked. Our food in the threshing floors was burnt and the vineyards were also destroyed. Our city is sacked. May you know it! May you know it![12]

By excavating the highest levels of the city's ruins, archaeologists can study various attributes of Ugaritic civilization just before their destruction, and compare artifacts with those of nearby cultures to help establish dates. Ugarit also contained many caches of cuneiform tablets, actual libraries that contained a wealth of information. The destruction levels of the ruin contained Late Helladic IIIB pottery ware, but no LH IIIC (see Mycenaean period). Therefore, the date of the destruction of Ugarit is important for the dating of the LH IIIC phase in mainland Greece. Since an Egyptian sword bearing the name of pharaoh Merneptah was found in the destruction levels, 1190 BCE was taken as the date for the beginning of the LH IIIC. A cuneiform tablet found in 1986 shows that Ugarit was destroyed after the death of Merneptah (1203 BCE). It is generally agreed that Ugarit had already been destroyed by the eighth year of Ramesses III (1178 BCE). Recent radiocarbon work, combined with other historical dates and the eclipse of January 21, 1192, indicates a destruction date between 1192 and 1190 BCE.[13]

Whether Ugarit was destroyed before or after Hattusa, the Hittite capital, is debated. The destruction was followed by a settlement hiatus. Many other Mediterranean cultures were deeply disordered just at the same time. Some of the disorder was apparently caused by invasions of the mysterious Sea Peoples.


Language and literature


Scribes in Ugarit appear to have originated the "Ugaritic alphabet" around 1400 BCE: 30 letters, corresponding to sounds, were inscribed on clay tablets. Although they are cuneiform in appearance, the letters bear no relation to Mesopotamian cuneiform signs; instead, they appear to be somehow related to the Egyptian-derived Phoenician alphabet. While the letters show little or no formal similarity to the Phoenician, the standard letter order (seen in the Phoenician alphabet as ʔ, B, G, D, H, W, Z, Ḥ, Ṭ, Y, K, L, M, N, S, ʕ, P, Ṣ, Q, R, ʃ) shows strong similarities between the two, suggesting that the Phoenician and Ugaritic systems were not wholly independent inventions.[15]

Ugaritic language

The existence of the Ugaritic language is attested to in texts from the 14th through the 12th century BCE. Ugaritic is usually classified as a Northwest Semitic language and therefore related to HebrewAramaic, and Phoenician, among others. Its grammatical features are highly similar to those found in Classical Arabic and Akkadian. It possesses two genders (masculine and feminine), three cases for nouns and adjectives (nominativeaccusative, and genitive); three numbers: (singulardual, and plural); and verb aspects similar to those found in other Northwest Semitic languages. The word order in Ugaritic is verb–subject–objectsubject-object-verb (VSO)&(SOV); possessed–possessor (NG) (first element dependent on the function and second always in genitive case); and nounadjective (NA) (both in the same case (i.e. congruent)).[16]

Ugaritic literature

Baal statuette from Ugarit

Apart from royal correspondence with neighboring Bronze Age monarchs, Ugaritic literature from tablets found in the city's libraries include mythological texts written in a poetic narrative, letters, legal documents such as land transfers, a few international treaties, and a number of administrative lists. Fragments of several poetic works have been identified: the "Legend of Keret", the "Legend of Danel", the Ba'al tales that detail Baal-Hadad's conflicts with Yam and Mot, among other fragments.[17]

The discovery of the Ugaritic archives in 1929 has been of great significance to biblical scholarship, as these archives for the first time provided a detailed description of Canaanite religious beliefs, during the period directly preceding the Israelite settlement. These texts show significant parallels to Hebrew biblical literature, particularly in the areas of divine imagery and poetic form. Ugaritic poetry has many elements later found in Hebrew poetryparallelismsmetres, and rhythms. The discoveries at Ugarit have led to a new appraisal of the Hebrew Bible as literature.[citation needed]


The important textual finds from the site shed a great deal of light upon the cultic life of the city.[18]

The foundations of the Bronze Age city Ugarit were divided into quarters. In the north-east quarter of the walled enclosure, the remains of three significant religious buildings were discovered, including two temples (of the gods Baal Hadad and Dagon) and a building referred to as the library or the high priest's house. Within these structures atop the acropolis numerous invaluable mythological texts were found. These texts have provided the basis for understanding of the Canaanite mythological world and religion. The Baal cycle represents Baal Hadad's destruction of Yam (the god of chaos and the sea), demonstrating the relationship of Canaanite chaoskampf with those of Mesopotamia and the Aegean: a warrior god rises up as the hero of the new pantheon to defeat chaos and bring order.



Boar rhyton, Mycenaean ceramic imported to Ugarit, 14th–13th century BCE (Louvre).

After its destruction in the early 12th century BCE,[19] Ugarit's location was forgotten until 1928 when a peasant accidentally opened an old tomb while ploughing a field. The discovered area was the necropolis of Ugarit located in the nearby seaport of Minet el-Beida. Excavations have since revealed a city with a prehistory reaching back to c. 6000 BCE.[20]

Site and palace

The site is a sixty-five foot high mound. Archaeologically, Ugarit is considered quintessentially Canaanite.[21] A brief investigation of a looted tomb at the necropolis of Minet el-Beida was conducted by Léon Albanèse in 1928, who then examined the main mound of Ras Shamra.[22] But in the next year scientific excavations of Tell Ras Shamra were commenced by archaeologist Claude Schaeffer from the Musée archéologique in Strasbourg.[23] Work continued under Schaeffer until 1970, with a break from 1940 to 1947 because of World War II.[24][25]

Remains of the ancient city, some walls and what appears to be a small well.

The excavations uncovered a royal palace of ninety rooms laid out around eight enclosed courtyards, and many ambitious private dwellings. Crowning the hill where the city was built were two main temples: one to Baal the "king", son of El, and one to Dagon, the chthonic god of fertility and wheat. 23 stelae were unearthed: nine stelae, including the famous Baal with Thunderbolt, near the Temple of Baal, four in the Temple of Dagon and ten more at scattered places around the city.[26]


On excavation of the site, several deposits of cuneiform clay tablets were found. These have proven to be of great historical significance.

See also


  1. ^ "Ugarit"Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  2. ^ Huehnergard, John (2012). An Introduction to Ugaritic. Hendrickson Publishers. ISBN 978-1-59856-820-2.
  3. ^ Sometimes written "Ras Shamrah"; Arabicرأس شمرة‎, literally "Cape Fennel"). See [1].
  4. ^ Commercial and diplomatic relations between Cyprus and Ugarit are well - documented in the Late Bronze Age and the close ties that existed between Ugarit and Cyprus can be seen.[2]
  5. ^ "Searching for the Lost City of Copper"History Magazine. 2017-03-23. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  6. ^ Bahn, Paul (1997). Lost Cities: 50 Discoveries in World Archaeology. London: Barnes & Noble. pp. 98–99.
  7. Jump up to:a b Pardee, Dennis. "Ugaritic", in The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia (2008) (pp. 5–6). Roger D. Woodard, editor. Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-68498-6ISBN 978-0-521-68498-9 (262 pages).
  8. Jump up to:a b Bretschneider, Joachim; Otto, Thierry (8 June 2011). "The Sea Peoples, from Cuneiform Tablets to Carbon Dating"PLOS ONE6 (6): e20232. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020232ISSN 1932-6203PMC 3110627PMID 21687714.
  9. ^ Letter RS 18.147
  10. ^ Jean Nougaryol et al. (1968) Ugaritica V: 87–90 no. 24
  11. ^ Cline, Eric H. (2014). Translation of letter RS 20.18 in "1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed". Princeton University Press. p. 151
  12. ^ Cline, p. 151
  13. ^ "The Sea Peoples, from Cuneiform Tablets to Carbon Dating." Kaniewski D, Van Campo E, Van Lerberghe K, Boiy T, Vansteenhuyse K, et al., PLoS ONE 6(6), 2011
  14. Jump up to:a b Smith, Mark S. (1994). The Ugaritic Baal Cycle: Volume I, Introduction with text, translation and commentary of KTU 1.1-1.2. p. 90. ISBN 9789004099951.
  15. ^ [3] Dennis Pardee, "The Ugaritic Alphabetic Cuneiform Writing System in the Context of Other Alphabetic Systems", (in Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization, vol. 60, pp. 181–200, Oriental Institute, 2007)
  16. ^ Stanislav Segert, A basic Grammar of the Ugaritic Language: with selected texts and glossary (1984) 1997.
  17. ^ Nick Wyatt. Religious texts from Ugarit, (1998) rev. ed 2002.
  18. ^ Gregorio Del Olmo Lete, Canaanite Religion: According to the Liturgical Texts of Ugarit, 2004.
  19. ^ "Ugarit | ancient city, Syria"Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  20. ^ Yon, Marguerite (2006). The City of Ugarit at Tell Ras Shamra. Singapore: Eisenbrauns. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-57506-029-3. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  21. ^ Tubb, Jonathan N. (1998), "Canaanites" (British Museum People of the Past)
  22. ^ Léon Albanèse, "Note sur Ras Shamra", Syria, vol. 10, pp.16–21, 1929
  23. ^ Charles Virolleaud, "Les Inscriptions Cunéiformes de Ras Shamra", Syria, vol. 10, pp. 304–310, 1929; Claude F. A. Schaeffer, The Cuneiform Texts of Ras Shamra-Ugarit, 1939
  24. ^ Claude F. A. Schaeffer, The Cuneiform Texts of Ras Shamra-Ugarit: The Schweich Lectures of the British Academy 1937, Periodicals Service Co, 1986, ISBN 3-601-00536-0
  25. ^ Claude F. A. Schaeffer et al., Le Palais Royal D'Ugarit III: Textes Accadiens et Hourrites Des Archives Est, Ouest et Centrales, Two Volumes (Mission De Ras Shamra Tome VI), Imprimerie Nationale, 1955
  26. ^ Caubet, Annie. "Stela Depicting the Storm God Baal"Musée du Louvre. Retrieved 27 October 2012.


  • internal strugle Annalee Newitz, What Happened to the Original 1 Percent?, New York Time, May 11, 2020
  • Ugarit Forschungen (Neukirchen-Vluyn). UF-11 (1979) honors Claude Schaeffer, with about 100 articles in 900 pages. pp 95, ff, "Comparative Graphemic Analysis of Old Babylonian and Western Akkadian", ( i.e. Ugarit and Amarna (letters), three others, Mari, OB,Royal, OB,non-Royal letters). See above, in text.
  • Bourdreuil, P. 1991. "Une bibliothèque au sud de la ville : Les textes de la 34e campagne (1973)". in Ras Shamra-Ougarit, 7 (Paris).
  • Caquot, André & Sznycer, MauriceUgaritic Religion. Iconography of Religions, Section XV: Mesopotamia and the Near East; Fascicle 8; Institute of Religious Iconography, State University Groningen; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1980.
  • Drews, Robert. 1995. The End of the Bronze Age: Changes in Warfare and the Catastrophe ca. 1200 BC (Princeton University Press). ISBN 0-691-02591-6
  • de Moor, Johannes C. The Seasonal Pattern in the Ugaritic Myth of Ba'lu, According to the Version of Ilimilku. Alter Orient und Altes Testament, Band 16. Neukirchen – Vluyn: Verlag Butzon & Berker Kevelaer, Neukirchener Verlag des Erziehungsvereins, 1971
  • Gibson, J.C.L., originally edited by G.R. Driver. Canaanite Myths and Legends. Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, Ltd., 1956, 1977.*K. Lawson and K. L. Younger Jr, "Ugarit at Seventy-Five," Eisenbrauns, 2007, ISBN 1-57506-143-0
  • L'Heureux, Conrad E. Rank Among the Canaanite Gods: El, Ba'al, and the Repha'im. Harvard Semitic Museum, Harvard Semitic Monographs No. 21, Missoula MT: Scholars Press, 1979.
  • Meletinskii, E. M., 2000 The Poetics of Myth
  • Mullen, E. Theodore, Jr. The Assembly of the Gods: The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew Literature. Harvard Semitic Museum, Harvard Semitic Monographs No. 24, Cambridge, MA: Harvard Press, 1980/ Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press Reprint, 1986. (comparison of Ugaritic and Old Testament literature).
  • Dennis Pardee, Ritual and Cult at Ugarit, (Writings from the Ancient World), Society of Biblical Literature, 2002, ISBN 1-58983-026-1
  • William M. SchniedewindJoel H. Hunt, 2007. A primer on Ugaritic: language, culture, and literature ISBN 0-521-87933-7 p. 14.
  • Smith, Mark S. The Ugaritic Baal Cycle: Volume 1. Introduction with Text, Translation and Commentary of KTU 1.1–1.2, (Vetus Testamentum Supplements series, volume 55; Leiden: Brill, 1994).
  • _____. The Ugaritic Baal Cycle: Volume 2. Introduction with Text, Translation and Commentary of KTU 1.3–1.4, (Vetus Testament Supplement series, volume 114; Leiden: Brill, 2008). Co-authored with Wayne Pitard.
  • Smith, Mark S., 2001. Untold Stories. The Bible and Ugaritic Studies in the Twentieth Century ISBN 1-56563-575-2 Chapter 1: "Beginnings: 1928–1945"
  • Tubb, Jonathan N. (1998), Canaanites (British Museum People of the Past).
  • Wyatt, Nicolas (1998): Religious texts from Ugarit: the worlds of Ilimilku and his colleagues, The Biblical Seminar, volume 53. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, paperback, 500 pages.

External links

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Native toUgarit
Extinct12th century BC
Ugaritic alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-2uga
ISO 639-3uga
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Ugaritic[1] (/ˌjɡəˈrɪtɪk, ˌ-/[2]) is an extinct Northwest Semitic language, classified by some as a dialect of the Amorite language and so the only known Amorite dialect preserved in writing. It is known through the Ugaritic texts discovered by French archaeologists in 1929 at Ugarit,[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] including several major literary texts, notably the Baal cycle. It has been used by scholars of the Hebrew Bible to clarify Biblical Hebrew texts and has revealed ways in which the cultures of ancient Israel and Judah found parallels in the neighboring cultures.[9]

Ugaritic has been called "the greatest literary discovery from antiquity since the deciphering of the Egyptian hieroglyphs and Mesopotamian cuneiform".[10]


The Ugaritic language is attested in texts from the 14th through the 12th century BC. The city of Ugarit was destroyed roughly 1190 BC.[11]

Literary texts discovered at Ugarit include the Legend of Keret, the legends of Danel, the Myth of Baal-Aliyan, and the Death of Baal—the latter two are also collectively known as the Baal Cycle—all revealing aspects of ancient Northwest Semitic religion.

It has been proposed that Ugaritic texts might help solve such biblical puzzles as the anachronism of Ezekiel mentioning Daniel at Ezekiel 14:13–16.[9]

Writing system

Clay tablet of Ugaritic alphabet
Table of Ugaritic alphabet

The Ugaritic alphabet is a cuneiform script used beginning in the 15th century BC. Like most Semitic scripts, it is an abjad, where each symbol stands for a consonant, leaving the reader to supply the appropriate vowel.

Although it appears similar to Mesopotamian cuneiform (whose writing techniques it borrowed), its symbols and symbol meanings are unrelated. It is the oldest example of the family of West Semitic scripts such as the PhoenicianPaleo-Hebrew, and Aramaic alphabets (including the Hebrew alphabet). The so-called "long alphabet" has 30 letters while the "short alphabet" has 22. Other languages (particularly Hurrian) were occasionally written in it in the Ugarit area, although not elsewhere.

Clay tablets written in Ugaritic provide the earliest evidence of both the Levantine ordering of the alphabet, which gave rise to the alphabetic order of the HebrewGreek, and Latin alphabets; and the South Semitic order, which gave rise to the order of the Ge'ez script. The script was written from left to right.


Ugaritic had 28 consonantal phonemes (including two semivowels) and eight vowel phonemes (three short vowels and five long vowels): a ā i ī u ū ē ō. The phonemes ē and ō occur only as long vowels and are the result of monophthongization of the diphthongs ey and aw, respectively.

Ugaritic consonantal phonemes[citation needed]
  1. ^ The voiced palatal fricative [ʒ] occurs as a late variant of the voiced interdental fricative /ð/.
  2. ^ The voiced velar fricative /ɣ/, while an independent phoneme at all periods, also occurs as a late variant of the emphatic voiced interdental /ðˤ/.

The following table shows Proto-Semitic phonemes and their correspondences among Ugaritic, Classical Arabic and Tiberian Hebrew:

Proto-SemiticUgariticClassical ArabicTiberian HebrewImperial Aramaic
b [b]𐎁bبb [b]בb/ḇ [b/v]בb/ḇ [b/v]
p [p]𐎔pفf [f]פp/p̄ [p/f]פp/p̄ [p/f]
sometimes  [ð]
ذ [ð]זz [z]ד (older ז)d/ḏ [d/ð]
 [θ]𐎘 [θ]ث [θ]שׁš [ʃ]תt/ṯ [t/θ]
 [θʼ]𐎑 [ðˤ];
sporadically ġ [ɣ]
ظ [ðˤ]צ [sˤ]ט [tˤ]
d [d]𐎄dدd [d]דd/ḏ [d/ð]דd/ḏ [d/ð]
t [t]𐎚tتt [t]תt/ṯ [t/θ]תt/ṯ [t/θ]
 [tʼ]𐎉 [tˤ]ط [tˤ]ט [tˤ]ט [tˤ]
š [s]𐎌š [ʃ]سs [s]שׁš [ʃ]שׁš [ʃ]
z [dz]𐎇zزz [z]זz [z]זz [z]
s [ts]𐎒sسs [s]סs [s]סs [s]
 [tsʼ]𐎕 [sˤ]ص [sˤ]צ [sˤ]צ [sˤ]
l [l]𐎍lلl [l]לl [l]לl [l]
ś [ɬ]𐎌šشš [ʃ]שׂś [ɬ]→[s]שׂ/סs/ś [s]
ṣ́ [(t)ɬʼ]𐎕 [sˤ]ض [ɮˤ]→[dˤ]צ [sˤ]ע (older ק)ʿ [ʕ]
g [ɡ]𐎂gجǧ [ɡʲ]→[dʒ]גg/ḡ [ɡ/ɣ]גg/ḡ [ɡ/ɣ]
k [k]𐎋kكk [k]כk/ḵ [k/x]כk/ḵ [k/x]
q [kʼ]𐎖qقq [q]קq [q]קq [q]
ġ [ɣ]𐎙ġ [ɣ]غġ [ɣ]עʿ [ʕ]עʿ [ʕ]
 [x]𐎃 [x]خ [x]ח [ħ]ח [ħ]
ʿ [ʕ]𐎓ʿ [ʕ]عʿ [ʕ]עʿ [ʕ]עʿ [ʕ]
 [ħ]𐎈 [ħ]ح [ħ]ח [ħ]ח [ħ]
ʾ [ʔ]𐎛ʾ [ʔ]ءʾ [ʔ]אʾ [ʔ]א/∅ʾ/∅ [ʔ/∅]
h [h]𐎅hهh [h]הh [h]הh [h]
m [m]𐎎mمm [m]מm [m]מm [m]
n [n]𐎐nنn [n]נn [n];
total assimilation
before a consonant
נn [n]
r [r]𐎗rرr [r]רr [r]רr [r]
w [w]𐎆wوw [w]וw [w];
y [j] initially
וw [w]
y [j]𐎊y [j]يy [j]יy [j]יy [j]
Proto-SemiticUgariticClassical ArabicTiberian HebrewImperial Aramaic


Ugaritic is an inflected language, and its grammatical features are highly similar to those found in Classical Arabic and Akkadian. It possesses two genders (masculine and feminine), three grammatical cases for nouns and adjectives (nominativeaccusative, and genitive), three numbers (singular, dual, and plural), and verb aspects similar to those found in other Northwest Semitic languages. The word order for Ugaritic is verb–subject–object (VSO) and subject–object–verb (SOV),[12] possessed–possessor (NG), and nounadjective (NA). Ugaritic is considered a conservative Semitic language, since it retains most of the phonemesthe case system, and the word order of the ancestral Proto-Semitic language.[13]

See also


  1. ^ http://bildnercenter.rutgers.edu/docman/rendsburg/59-modern-south-arabian-as-a-source-for-ugaritic-etymologies/file
  2. ^ "Ugaritic"Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  3. ^ Watson, Wilfred G. E.; Wyatt, Nicolas (1999). Handbook of Ugaritic Studies. Brill. p. 91. ISBN 978-90-04-10988-9.
  4. ^ Ugaritic is alternatively classified in a "North Semitic" group Lipiński, Edward (2001). Semitic Languages: Outline of a Comparative Grammar. Peeters Publishers. p. 50. ISBN 978-90-429-0815-4.
  5. ^ Woodard, Roger D. (2008-04-10). The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia. Cambridge University Press. p. 5. ISBN 9781139469340.
  6. ^ Goetze, Albrecht (1941). "Is Ugaritic a Canaanite Dialect?". Language17(2): 127–138. doi:10.2307/409619JSTOR 409619.
  7. ^ Kaye, Alan S. (2007-06-30). Morphologies of Asia and Africa. Eisenbrauns. p. 49. ISBN 9781575061092.
  8. ^ Schniedewind, WilliamHunt, Joel H. (2007). A Primer on Ugaritic: Language, Culture and Literature. Cambridge University Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-139-46698-1.
  9. Jump up to:a b c Greenstein, Edward L. (November 2010). "Texts from Ugarit Solve Biblical Puzzles"Biblical Archaeology Review36 (6): 48–53, 70. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  10. ^ Gordon, Cyrus H. (1965). The Ancient Near East. Norton. p. 99.
  11. ^ Huehnergard, John (2012). An Introduction to Ugaritic. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-59856-820-2.
  12. ^ Wilson, Gerald H. (1982). "Ugaritic Word Order and Sentence Structure in KRT". Journal of Semitic Studies27 (1): 17–32. doi:10.1093/jss/27.1.17.
  13. ^ A Basic Grammar of Ugaritic Language by Stanislav Segert - Hardcover - University of California Press.


  • Bordreuil, Pierre & Pardee, Dennis (2009). A Manual of Ugaritic: Linguistic Studies in Ancient West Semitic 3. Winona Lake, IN 46590: Eisenbraun's, Inc. ISBN 978-1-57506-153-5.
  • Cunchillos, J.-L. & Vita, Juan-Pablo (2003). A Concordance of Ugaritic Words. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press. ISBN 978-1-59333-258-7.
  • del Olmo Lete, Gregorio & Sanmartín, Joaquín (2004). A Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language in the Alphabetic Tradition. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-90-04-13694-6. (2 vols; originally in Spanish, translated by W. G. E. Watson).
  • Gibson, John C. L. (1977). Canaanite Myths and Legends. T. & T. Clark. ISBN 978-0-567-02351-3. (Contains Latin-alphabet transliterations of the Ugaritic texts and facing translations in English.)
  • Gordon, Cyrus Herzl (1965). The Ancient Near East. W. W. Norton & Company Press. ISBN 978-0-393-00275-1.
  • Greenstein, Edward L. (1998). Shlomo Izre'el; Itamar Singer; Ran Zadok (eds.). "On a New Grammar of Ugartic" in Past links: studies in the languages and cultures of the ancient near east: Volume 18 of Israel oriental studies. Eisenbrauns. ISBN 978-1-57506-035-4. Found at Google Scholar.
  • Huehnergard, John (2011). A Grammar of Akkadian, 3rd ed. Eisenbrauns. ISBN 978-1-5750-6941-8.
  • Moscati, Sabatino (1980). An Introduction to the Comparative Grammar of Semitic Languages, Phonology and Morphology. Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-00689-7.
  • Parker, Simon B. (ed.) (1997). Ugaritic Narrative Poetry: Writings from the Ancient World Society of Biblical Literature. Atlanta: Scholars Press. ISBN 978-0-7885-0337-5.
  • Pardee, Dennis (2003). Rezension von J. Tropper, Ugaritische Grammatik (AOAT 273) Ugarit-Verlag, Münster 2000: Internationale Zeitschrift für die Wissenschaft vom Vorderen Orient. Vienna, Austria: Archiv für Orientforschung (AfO). P. 1-404.
  • Schniedewind, William M. & Hunt, Joel H. (2007). A Primer on Ugaritic: Language, Culture and Literature. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-5217-0493-9.
  • Segert, Stanislav (1997). A Basic Grammar of the Ugaritic Language. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-03999-5.
  • Sivan, Daniel (1997). A Grammar of the Ugaritic Language (Handbook of Oriental Studies/Handbuch Der Orientalistik). Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-90-04-10614-7. A more concise grammar.
  • Tropper, J. (2000). Ugartische Grammatik, AOAT 273. Münster, Ugarit Verlag.
  • Woodard, Roger D. (ed.) (2008). The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-68498-9.

External links