Includes bibliographical references (p. 487-678) and indexes.
Introduction -- Physiology undergirds symbology : thirty-two virtually unique characteristics of a snake -- Realia and iconography : the symbolism of the serpent in the ancient Near East (and the religion of Israel) -- The perception that the serpent is a positive symbol in Greek and Roman literature -- The full spectrum of the meaning of serpent symbolism in the Fertile Crescent -- Serpent symbolism in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) -- The symbolism of the serpent in the Gospel of John.
The serpent of ancient times was more often associated with positive attributes like healing and eternal life than it was with negative meanings. This groundbreaking book explores in plentiful detail the symbol of the serpent from 40,000 BCE to the present, and from diverse regions in the world. In doing so it emphasizes the creativity of the biblical authors' use of symbols and argues that we must today reexamine our own archetypal conceptions with comparable creativity.--From publisher description.