What is a dragon in the Bible?

The word dragon is a source of intrigue and confusion for readers of the Bible. While exciting, it causes many to view the bible as a fantasy which is not the ideal view considering that this book is clearly enlightened.

Let’ start with the modern-day definition of a dragon.

Dragon

a mythical monster like a giant reptile. In European tradition the dragon is typically fire-breathing and tends to symbolize chaos or evil, whereas in East Asia it is usually a beneficent symbol of fertility, associated with water and the heavens.

A fundamental when researching the meaning or usage of a word is digging into the etymology of the word.

Etymology

the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history.

Now that we understand the meaning of etymology, a quick search for the etymology of the word dragon turned up the following:


dragon
/ˈdraɡ(ə)n/

noun
noun: dragon; plural noun: dragons; noun: flying dragon; plural noun: flying dragons

  1. a mythical monster like a giant reptile. In European tradition the dragon is typically fire-breathing and tends to symbolize chaos or evil, whereas in East Asia it is usually a beneficent symbol of fertility, associated with water and the heavens.
    • DEROGATORY – a fierce and intimidating woman.“his wife is a real dragon”
  2. another term for flying lizard.
    • AUSTRALIAN any lizard of the agama family.

Origin

Middle English (also denoting a large serpent): from Old French, via Latin from Greek drakōn ‘serpent’.1


Another important point to take into consideration when researching a word is to understand the understood meaning of the word at the time the word was used in the document in question.

Dragon History

The word “dragon,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary (1966), is derived from the Old French, which in turn was derived from the Latin dracon (serpent), which in turn was derived from the Greek Spakov (serpent), from the Greek aorist verb, Spakelv (to see clearly). It is related to many other ancient words related to sight, such as Sanskrit darc (see), Avestic darstis (sight), Old Irish derc (eye), Old English torht, Old Saxon torht and Old High German zoraht, both meaning clear, or bright. The roots of the word can be traced, then, back to most early Indo-European tongues. This may indicate that it is possible the immediate ancestor of the word was a part of the original hypothetical Indo-European tongue, which may have been a part of the vocabulary of Japheth’s descendants, soon after the Flood and the dispersion from Babel.

The Oxford English Dictionary points out that Spakelv is derived from the Greek stem Spak meaning strong. The connection with dragons is obvious. According to the OED, the word was first used in English about 1220 A.D. It was used in English versions of the Bible from 1340 on.2

The word dragon entered the English language in the early 13th century from Old French dragon, which in turn comes from Latin: draconem (nominative draco) meaning “huge serpent, dragon”, from Greek: δράκων, drakon (genitive drakontos, δράκοντος) “serpent, giant seafish“. The Greek and Latin term referred to any great serpent, not necessarily mythological.3

Wikipedia

The information above shows that the word dragon entered the English language in the 13th century with the meaning “huge serpent” and has been used in the English versions of the Bible from 1340 onwards.

Dragon is not the mythical evolution that has been paraded in all modern-day media outlets, but rather the same serpent spoken of in Genesis 3.


Sources:

  1. https://www.google.co.uk
  2. https://www.dragon-history.com/dragon-history.htm
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon

These sources are subject to their owners and may change the information presented at any point in time. These quotes were taken on the 28/10/2018.

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