In 2001, Michael Witzel called for “exploring the historical development” of the Indo-European and Near Eastern myth-families “by setting up a family tree of such groupings,” to “fill the gap between, say, the reconstructed Near Eastern branch and the individual local mythology, e.g., that of the Sumerians or Hittites.” The present essay is part of a larger project to track the storm god-slays-dragon myth across the ancient Near East, from the
to Iran and Anatolia, from Sumer through the Levant.
This essay is a condensed version of the first half of that trek,
“a combination of extremely close reading of text passages in the original … with the traditional Comparative Method.”
The comparative method used here is genetic; fundamentally, “its goal is history.”