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There is absolutely no evidence to suggest the Leviathan was originally mythological. The way it is written about in the Bible suggests it was viewed as very real. The ancient Hebrews believed in its existence and they clearly feared it and even made attempts to kill it, which means it was not originally mythological but something born out of fear of the misunderstood.
Wiki...'When the Leviathan is hungry, reports R. Dimi in the name of R. Johanan, he sends forth from his mouth a heat so great as to make all the waters of the deep boil, and if he would put his head into Paradise no living creature could endure the odor of him (ib.). His abode is the Mediterranean Sea; and the waters of the Jordan fall into his mouth (Bek. 55b; B. B. l.c.).'
Submarine volcanoes produce lots of sulfur, which smells like rotten eggs.
16 Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.
17 He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
18 His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.
23 Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.
24 He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.
19 Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out.
20 Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron.
21 His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth.
23 The flakes of his flesh are joined together: they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved.
24 His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone.
26 The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon.
27 He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood.28 The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble. 29 Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear.
30 Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire.
31 He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.
32 He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary.
There is nothing in Job 41 that discounts this theory but all of the above not only point directly to it but discount anything made of flesh, either mythical or real. 'Hoary' means 'white hair', so a path flowing from the Leviathan that looks like white hair could be this or this...
I have included parts of Job 40 because I believe Bohemoth and Leviathan merge. The important point is that the ancients misunderstood submarine volcanoes for monsters.
Job 40 23-24 Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.
I believe the above verses are nowadays misinterpreted. Job 40:24 I believe means the water of the river Jordan seemed to drain into the Bohemoth's eyes (in the minds of the Hebrews) as well as its mouth (in Job 40:23) and his nose (zoomorphically speaking) shot out snares.
'Snares' are nowadays interpreted as rings through the Bohemoth's nose. There is a problem with this interpretation. The verse would read the other way around....'Snares pierceth through his nose' if it was a ring through the nose to signify being captured. However, it is the nose that pierceth out snares. Snares, in this instance, are blazing coals, much as they are here....
'Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.' Psalm 11:6
The above video of course not only demonstrates the Leviathan characteristics, it also talks about toxic gases being released and shows dead fish and reports on sick people, a correlation of which can be made with another submarine volcanic eruption....Kolumbo.
The Red Sea, the Dead Sea, the Suez Canal and most likely the Sea of Galilee all contain submarine volcanoes. Most volcanoes are submarine volcanoes and not land volcanoes.
Submarine volcanoes are underwater fissures in the Earth's surface from which magma can erupt. They are estimated to account for 75% of annual magma output. The vast majority are located near areas of tectonic plate movement, known as ocean ridges. Although most are located in the depths of seas and oceans, some also exist in shallow water, which can spew material into the air during an eruption. Hydrothermal vents, sites of abundant biological activity, are commonly found near submarine volcanoes.One of Israel's tourist attactions is its hot springs. See this page for an extensive list of hydrothermal activity sites.
In 1949, a deep water survey reported anomalously hot brines in the central portion of the Red Sea. Later work in the 1960s confirmed the presence of hot, 60 °C (140 °F), saline brines and associated metalliferous muds. The hot solutions were emanating from an active subseafloor rift. The highly saline character of the waters was not hospitable to living organisms. The brines and associated muds are currently under investigation as a source of mineable precious and base metals. From Wikipedia.A very early hint of hydrothermal vents came in the 1880s when a Russian ship, Vitaz, sampled waters 600 meters (2,000 feet) deep in the Red Sea off the sacred city of Mecca. Read more here.
This page contains an image that shows the Dead Sea Transform Fault, one area that will almost certainly be lined with volcanic activity.
And here is some information on the Great Rift Valley.
Please also see my post on Mythical Monsters, which shows the volcanic correlation between several mythical monsters, including the Leviathan.
This absorbing book shows that myths originally transmitted real information about real events and observations, preserving the information sometimes for millennia within nonliterate societies. Geologists' interpretations of how a volcanic cataclysm long ago created Oregon's Crater Lake, for example, is echoed point for point in the local myth of its origin. The Klamath tribe saw it happen and passed down the story--for nearly 8,000 years. We, however, have been literate so long that we've forgotten how myths encode reality. Recent studies of how our brains work, applied to a wide range of data from the Pacific Northwest to ancient Egypt to modern stories reported in newspapers, have helped the Barbers deduce the characteristic principles by which such tales both develop and degrade through time. Myth is in fact a quite reasonable way to convey important messages orally over many generations--although reasoning back to the original events is possible only under rather specific conditions.The above is a summation of a book just recommended to me, which I believe fits my beliefs on the 'myth' of the Leviathan....the fabled submarine volcano. The book is 'When they severed Earth from Sky' by Elizabeth Wayland Barber and Paul Barber.
Below is a quote from 'Decode Hindu Mythology' which uncovers the Leviathan of Hinduism....the Vadava....
Shiv Purana [188.8.131.52-19] states that the fall off of this energy fell like lightning from Shiva’s third eye and Brahma had to take it to the ocean and keep it safe there else it would have burnt the entire creation. This mare shaped sub-marine fire at the bottom of the ocean, is known as Vadava.
Normally, the fire is kept in check with the waters of the Global Ocean. But as Mahabharat verse 12.248.13-17 state, the end of the Day of Brahma is nigh that Rudra sparks off the fire again and this explosion of fire from the mare's mouth in the Southern Ocean will begin the process of Pralaya.
Could this sub-marine fire actually refer to underwater volcanoes that keep spewing out magma from the Earth's core. Maybe the end of our days will be initiated by an under-water volcanic eruption that sets a chain of events in motion leading to the annihilation of life as we know it!
Here is the list of experts in the field of mythology or religion who received a link to this page and a request to respond with an appraisal of the theory. I shall continue to contact more people and will update the list regularly so you can see the feedback.
James Aitken University of Cambridge
Sarah Coakley University of Cambridge
Eamon Duffy University of Cambridge
David Ford University of Cambridge
Dr Simon Gathercole University of Cambridge
Darren Sarisky University of Cambridge
Judith Lieu University of Cambridge
Janet Soskice University of Cambridge
Catherine Pickstock University of Cambridge
Fraser Watts University of Cambridge
Daniel Weiss University of Cambridge
John Day Oxford Univeristy (My theory is nonsense.)
Sondra Hausner Oxford University
Jack Jarick Oxford University
Will Kynes Oxford University
Guy Stroumsa Oxford University
Susan Gillingham Oxford University
Marcus Bockmuehl Oxford University
John Barton Oxford University
Ronald Hendel Berkeley University
Evans Lansing Smith Pacifica University
Christine Downing Pacifica University
Laura S.Grilla Pacifica University
Dennis Patrick Slattery Pacifica University
Glen Slater Pacifica University
Verlyn Flieger University of Maryland (Not an expert in this field)
Sheila Jelen University of Maryland
Susan Hollis Empire State College (Not her field of expertise)
Vanda Zajko University of Bristol
Richard Buxton University of Bristol
Susan Abraham University of Harvard
Emily Click University of Harvard
Francis Clooney University of Harvard
Mark Edwards University of Harvard
William Graham University of Harvard
David Hempton University of Harvard
Michael D.Jackson University of Harvard
Karen L.King University of Harvard
Peter Machinist University of Harvard
Dan McKanan University of Harvard
Diane L.Moore University of Harvard
Ahmed Ragab University of Harvard
Andrew Teeter University of Harvard
Ronald Theimann University of Harvard
Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert Stanford University
Robert C. Gregg Stanford University
Kathryn Gin Lum Stanford University
Steven P. Weitzman Stanford University
John Gager Princeton University
Simeon Chavel University of Chicago
Michael Fishbane University of Chicago
David Schloen University of Chicago
Jeffrey Stackert University of Chicago
Arnold I. Davidson University of Chicago
Michael Fishbane University of Chicago
Paul Mendes-Flohr University of Chicago
James T. Robinson University of Chicago
Paul Mendes-Flohr University of Chicago
Steven Fraade Yale University
Robert Wilson Yale University
John Hare, Yale University
Kathryn Tanner Yale University
Ofra Backenroth The Jewish Theological Seminary
Samuel Barth The Jewish Theological Seminary
Meredith Katz The Jewish Theological Seminary
Sarah Tauber The Jewish Theological Seminary
Beth Berkowitz The Jewish Theological Seminary
Alan Cooper The Jewish Theological Seminary
Aryeh Davidson The Jewish Theological Seminary
Eliezer Diamond The Jewish Theological Seminary
Arnold Eisen The Jewish Theological Seminary
Shira Epstein The Jewish Theological Seminary
Eitan Fishbane The Jewish Theological Seminary
David Fishman The Jewish Theological Seminary
Israel Francus The Jewish Theological Seminary
Shamma Friedman The Jewish Theological Seminary
Benjamin Gampel The Jewish Theological Seminary
Stephen Garfinkel The Jewish Theological Seminary
Stephen A. Geller The Jewish Theological Seminary
Neil Gillman The Jewish Theological Seminary
Michael Greenbaum The Jewish Theological Seminary
Robert Harris The Jewish Theological Seminary
Judith Hauptman The Jewish Theological Seminary
Walter Herzberg The Jewish Theological Seminary
Amy Kalmanofsky The Jewish Theological Seminary
Richard Kalmin The Jewish Theological Seminary
David Kraemer The Jewish Theological Seminary
Jeffrey Kress The Jewish Theological Seminary
Nitza Krohn The Jewish Theological Seminary
Marjorie Lehman The Jewish Theological Seminary
Anne Lapidus Lerner The Jewish Theological Seminary
Leonard Levin The Jewish Theological Seminary
David Marcus The Jewish Theological Seminary
Carol Bakhos UCLA
David Myers UCLA
Chaim Seidler-Feller UCLA