A Review of Stories from Ancient Canaan by Michael David Coogan

This accessible and entertaining book recounts several important mythic stories from ancient Ugarit. Ugarit was a Canaanite city state on the coast of the Mediterranean across from Crete in modern Syria. This book introduced me to several interesting concepts. The first was that Ugaritic was a Semetic language like Biblical Hebrew but written with a cuniaform alphabet. Second, the world did not know much about Ugarit until the 1920s when the tablets from this city were found. Third that the many quotes in the Old Testament reflect the competing religion of the Canaanites and cultural exchange backwards and forwards between the Canaanites and Israelites. In this collection you will read the story of Aqat, Kirta, and Baal. The introductions before the translations are especially helpful. The myths while using repetitive langue are helpful in getting a sense for how the stories may have sounded to people steeped in an oral culture. Worth your time if you are interested in the ancient Near East.