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Tannin

by Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis
"Dragon." With only a few vague references in the Bible, this term is open to various interpretations, the most mundane being the crocodile. More imaginative readers understand it to refer to a monstrous serpent or dragon. Dragons dwell in water and are a menace to navigation (Neh. 2:13; Isa. 27:1; B.B. 74a-b). At times the word becomes synonymous with Leviathan. Daniel is credited with battling a dragon and killing it by filling its mouth with pitch. In the Apocalyptic literature there is a dragon of monstrous dimensions in Sheol that feeds on the souls of the wicked (3 Baruch 4-5). Demons will take the form of dragons (B. Kid. 29b). In Kabbalah, a cosmic blind dragon, Tanin'iver, serves as the steed of Lilith. (Daniel, Septuagint version; 3 Baruch).

See also: Dragon.


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  • Etymology:
    Dragon

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