So can anyone explain to me the relevance of the Leviathan as used in Job in the light of Orthodoxy? What was the purpose of inserting this mythical creature into the narrative? Why do we see themes throughout the OT regarding God battling with the sea and its inhabitants? Did the ancients of the time believe that the sea was some sort of breeding ground of chaos and danger?
Trying to piece this together and somehow making it into the light of Christ. Maybe throw in the Behemoth while we are at it. Or are these two things supposed to express some sort of allegorical spiritual understanding?
Going through the OT is like swimming through some murky waters. Alot of the myths thrown into Genesis for example are bizarre.
Give your faith, you ought to see John Adam's Dr. Atomic
. That line from the Bhagavad Gita is used hauntingly in Oppenheimer's mouth.
People should read the OT more. Especially Orthodox. It does seem like almost none one knows it very well, although it was the Scripture of the Early Church.
The fact the OT got nixed in the DL sucks. Also a reason I love the Royal Hours and am so glad our parish offers them even if no one shows up except our Priest and me and two others.
Yes, I know it gets works into other parts of the Orthodox liturgy, but most folks probably ain't getting much more than a Great Vespers and a DL per week maybe in this country.
To your question, you are right.
What is interesting is the "spin" put on those very common Near Eastern mythologies within Genesis. Sometimes comparative "religion" can be helpful. And knowing a little about what the Hebrew were responding to in their own understanding of themselves and the origins of things gives one an interesting perspective. One of many.
That is why de-mythologizing them whether through literalism or "mere symbolism" robes them of their mythic power. Myths are complexly and finely wrought tales of the struggle of a people to understand themselves and how they relate to the order of things.
Nick is "big" into Near Eastern stuff and probably could give you a decent primer on what to read to get an idea of what the other similar myths were.
I could only refer to you Greek Classical literature which doesn't inform the mythology of the Hebrews much however though does stand in some interesting similarity and contrast.
So read Hesiod.
More importantly read the OT.