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Behemoth als Partner und Feind des Leviathan: zur politischen Ikonologie eines Monstrums


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  • Bredekamp, Horst
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    Zu den mächtigsten Bildern des Alten Testamentes gehören die beiden Monstra des Leviathan und des Behemoth, die Gott vor dem aufbegehrenden Hiob erscheinen läßt, um seine Macht zu demonstrieren. Während das Symbol des Leviathan als hobbesches Urbild des modernen Staates immer wieder erforscht worden ist, trifft dies auf den Behemoth weniger zu. Ausgehend von William Blakes Darstellungen der beiden Monstra versucht der Artikel in groben Zügen eine Geschichte des Mit- und Gegeneinanders der beiden Untiere des Buches Hiob zu verfolgen. Beide besaßen immer auch eine politische Bedeutung: als Antipoden zum ägyptischen Horus, als apotropäische Verkörperungen des Antichristen und des Teufels im Mittelalter und als oppositionelle Bestien des Staatsfriedens und des Bürgerkriegs bei Hobbes. Mit Blick auf das zwanzigste Jahrhundert verfolgt der Essay, wie Behemoth und Leviathan gleichsam die Fronten wechselten und wie mit der Schreckensminderung des Leviathan auch der Behemoth zivile Züge bekam, wie schließlich aber die Rückkehr des Staates eine Rückkehr zur Strenge des alttestamentlichen Textes erwarten läßt. -- The two monstrosities Leviathan and Behemoth belong to the most powerful images of the Old Testamemt, which God let appear before the uprising Job to demonstrate his power. While the symbol of Leviathan has been researched as Hobbes archaic image of the modern state, this applies less to Behemoth. This article tries to follow the history of the cooperation and the conflict of the two monsters along general lines based on William Blakes' presentation of the two monstrosities of the book of Job. Both have always also had a political significance: as antipode to the egyptian Horus and as apotropaic personification of the antichrist and the devil of the middle ages and as an oppositional beast of the state peace and the civil war in Hobbes. In view of the 20th century, the essay shows how Behemoth and Leviathan both changed sides and while Leviathan became less frightening Behemoth obtained civil features. Eventually the return of the state anticipates the return of the severity of the Old Testament.

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    Paper provided by University of Bremen, Collaborative Research Center 597: Transformations of the State in its series TranState Working Papers with number 98.

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    Date of creation: 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb597:98

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