Here are various passages from the Ancient Near East literature, starting with those from the Bible, that regard, or may regard, the “circle of the earth”.
I will comment on them later, as time allows, but for now, let me say that this is the model I currently have in mind:
Yahweh, at the Genesis 1 “creation” created some manner of boundary to cordon off a portion of Planet Earth for a special and extended work. This is called “the circle of the earth”, for it bounded that “dry land”—which may not be a literal reference, but a figurative one, referring to a place devoid of smothering “waters”. From this boundary, those “waters” were commanded to keep back. This “circle of the earth” is the same circle as was drawn “on the face of the deep” and “on the face of the waters”. It may also have been called:
- the “circle of the firmament” (2 Enoch 21:7),
- the “circle of the seas” (War Scroll),
- “His appointment circle” (1 Clement 20:3)
- the “circle of the stars” (Wisdom of Solomon 13:2 and Assumption of Moses 10)