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Leviathan

Leviathan

The sea serpent Leviathan is mentioned several times in the Old Testament of the Bible. Legends about this immense and powerful creature were based on earlier stories about Tiamat, a dragon defeated by the god Marduk in a Babylonian creation myth. Later a similar tale appeared among the ancient Canaanites, who claimed that the god Baal slaughtered a seven-headed primeval serpent named Lotan.

primeval from the earliest times

chaos great disorder or confusion

In the Bible, Leviathan roamed the sea, breathing fire and spewing smoke from his nostrils. The book of Psalms describes how the Hebrew god Yahweh struggled with the many-headed Leviathan and killed it during a battle with the waters of chaos. Yahweh then created the universe, day and night, and the four seasons. Scriptural references to the end of time say that the flesh of Leviathan will be part of a feast served on the Day of Judgment.

See also Baal; Creation Stories; Dragons; Marduk; Semitic Mythology; Serpents and Snakes; Tiamat.

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Leviathan

Leviathan (1651) was the masterpiece on political philosophy written by Thomas Hobbes to justify absolute sovereignty. Hobbes held that the greatest threat to human security was the anarchy of the ‘State of Nature’, and that to avoid that horrific condition, where life was ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’, men must contract to establish a sovereign power with sufficient authority to enforce laws and maintain order. Hobbes claimed that the recent civil wars in England would never have occurred if men had followed the path of reason and worked out the necessary truths of political obligation.

Tim S. Gray

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leviathan

le·vi·a·than / ləˈvīə[unvoicedth]ən/ • n. (in biblical use) a sea monster, identified in different passages with the whale and the crocodile (e.g., Job 41, Ps. 74:14), and with the Devil (after Isa. 27:1). ∎  a very large aquatic creature, esp. a whale: the great leviathans of the deep. ∎  a thing that is very large or powerful, esp. a ship. ∎  an autocratic monarch or state. [ORIGIN: with allusion to Hobbes' Leviathan (1651).]

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leviathan

leviathan in biblical use, a sea monster, taken as the type of something of enormous size. It is identified in different passages with the whale and the crocodile (e.g. Job 41, Psalm 74:14), and with the Devil (after Isaiah 27:1). The word is also used allusively for an absolute monarch or state, from the title of Thomas Hobbes's 1651 political study Leviathan.

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leviathan

leviathan (lēvī´əthən), in the Bible, aquatic monster, presumably the crocodile, the whale, or a dragon. It was a symbol of evil to be ultimately defeated by the power of good.

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leviathan

leviathan large aquatic animal in the Bible; †Satan XIV; used by Hobbes for the commonwealth 1651. — L. — Heb. liwyāthān.

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Leviathan

Leviathan. A large sea animal. In the Hebrew scriptures, the leviathan frequently represents the forces of chaos which are opposed to God.

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Leviathan

Leviathan In the Old Testament, an immense serpent living in the depths of the ocean. It embodied everything evil.

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leviathan

leviathan •Melanchthon •lengthen, strengthen •Nathan •Elizabethan, Ethan •Phaethon • python • leviathan •Jonathan • marathon • earthen •Carmarthen • leathern • heathen •northern • southern • burthen •Avon, Cavan, cavern, raven, tavern •Caernarfon, Dungarvan, Javan •Wilhelmshaven • Tórshavn •Bevan, Devon, eleven, Evan, heaven, leaven, Pleven, seven, Severn •Hesvan •craven, graven, haven, maven, shaven, Stratford-upon-Avon •even, Sivan, Steven •driven, forgiven, given, misgiven, Niven, riven, shriven, thriven •silvern, sylvan •Godgiven • Sullivan •enliven, Ivan, liven •cloven, interwoven, woven •Beethoven • Eindhoven • proven •coven, govern, misgovern, oven, sloven •cordovan • Donovan • Quechuan •Bronwen • Iowan

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