The tablets of poetic mythological texts unearthed during the excavation of Urgarit are here edited and translated to shed new light on the religion and literature of the ancient world. 'The tablets...a.re of great importance for the study of literature and religion in an area of the ancient world which chiefly through the avenue of the Hebrew bible excercised a deep influence on the rise of European civilization. They are enabling scholarship for the first time to arrive at a positive appraisal of the highler levels of Canaanite culture, which is so remorselessly attacked in the Bible but which can now be seen to have contributed more to its composition (and thus indirectly to the thought and poetic imagery of the West) than was previously supposed'. J.C.L. Gibson was Reader in Hebrew and Semitic Languages, New College, Oxford.