Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Things that make you go hmmm

According to Genesis, Chava is the "mother of all that lives." As noted in an earlier post, her name is similar to Chivya, the Aramaic for snake, and, as noted by Robert Alter, this calls to mind the an old Mesopotamian myth in which a giant primordial serpent is imagined to be the progenitor of all things: in other words, the אֵם כָּל-חָי.

Now, I've found that Greek mythology recognized a "Mother of All Monsters." Her name was Echidna, (She-Viper) and she was (surprise!) half woman, half snake. Her children included: Cerberus (the three headed hell dog) Orthrus (the less famous hell dog) Ladon (a snake who coiled under an apple tree. Hmmm), Chimera (the goat/lion/snake) Sphinx (Woman/lion who like riddles) Hydra ((the many-headed dragon), Ethon, Nemean Lion, and Teumessian fox

I'm no linguist, but I hear an echo of Chivya in Echidna. The more learned members of the commenting community are invited to weigh in.

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