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Who is Leviathan and why the film was named after him
Who is Leviathan and why the film was named after him
Divine service on the back of a huge Leviathan fish, medieval engraving

Along with the awards of international film festivals and laudatory reviews of experts, the film "Leviathan" and its director Andrei Zvyagintsev received a flurry of criticism from various figures of Russian culture and politics. In order to better understand what the famous director wanted to say in his work, we decided to figure out what role the sea monster Leviathan, whose image is based on the film, played in history, philosophy and theology.

Image of Leviathan from the Byzantine book, XI century

In the Old Testament, or rather in the Book of Job, one of the most ancient parts of the Bible, the sea serpent Leviathan is mentioned. God Himself tells Job about him as a huge monster, terrifying and at the same time beautiful in its unbridled power:.

The Leviathan is depicted as a large fish with scales and fins, and its mouth is full of sharp, menacing teeth. Its body forms a loop, and its tail almost touches the head. France, XIII centuries

Circumstances under which Leviathan appears in the Book of Job

The righteous Job was reputed to be just, blameless and God-fearing, and he was so rich that he was the most famous of "all the sons of the East." He had a big, happy family: three daughters and seven sons. Satan declared that Job's righteousness is only in his earthly prosperity, and if Job loses him, then all his piety will disappear. Lucifer deprived Job of his wealth, made all his children die, and when this did not break the righteous, Satan struck his body with leprosy.

The Lord catches Leviathan with the help of the human incarnation of Jesus. Engraving, XII century

Everyone around and Job's wife began to say that all his troubles were due to God's wrath. Job himself was tormented by the question of what such sins he received all these trials, but he did not renounce the faith.

The gates of hell in the form of the mouth of Leviathan. Woodcut, book "The Belial Process" (1473) by Jacob de Teramo

God then conveyed to Job that "the ways of the Lord are inscrutable," and as proof of the incomprehensibility of man's divine essence, he showed the terrible dragon Leviathan created by him.

What Leviathan looks like

Perhaps the most detailed description of Leviathan can be found in the same Book of Job: It is said that the monster has horns on its head 300 miles long, and the vapor emitted by the snake can boil the ocean.

Leviathan. 18th century engraving

In the further description, Leviathan is compared with a fire-breathing dragon, whose eyes are the eyelashes of the dawn, light is shown from sneezing, smoke blazes from his nostrils, and fires of flame jump out of his mouth. Leviathan is undaunted, invulnerable and proud of his strength., - says the Holy Scripture.

If the location of the greatest biblical relics it is known that Leviathan is a mythical creature that is mentioned in the biblical apocrypha in connection with apocalyptic motives. Allegedly, the meat of an animal slain by God will serve as food at the feast of the righteous on the day the Messiah comes.

Leviathan in philosophy

In 1651, the world-famous book Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes, a philosopher who rejected theological scholasticism, was published. In this book, he substantiated the theory of state and society. But in Hobbes's opinion, a person initially possesses an evil nature, therefore, there is always a "war of all against all," in which there can be no winner.

Images of Leviathan, created for the map of America by the engraver Jerome Cock (1510-1570) from Antwerp. / Leviathan on an engraving of 1710. Library of St. James, UK

Hobbes's Leviathan is an omnipotent, many-sided and unshakable monster - this is a state. The philosopher claims that the Leviathan state, devouring and sweeping away everything in its path, is a force that cannot be resisted, but which is simply necessary to maintain the vitality of society.

Killing Leviathan. Engraving by Gustave Dore, 1865

Leviathan is not just a monster, it is a kind of lesson for humanity. "Leviathan" directed by Zvyagintsev amazes with its power, shocks with tragic truth and surprises with satirical energy. The film is complex and controversial, such as Scripture with illustrations by Salvador Dali, which we talked about earlier. Critics called him "alive", and all living things, as you know, are an imperfect creation. Therefore, only the life or death of a society that is on the brink can bring this story to the end.

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