Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book I Part 3.15

General Information:

Name of Book: Tree of Souls

ISBN: 9780195086799

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Year it was published: 2004

Overall theme:

"With only one God, heaven would be a barren place, at least in mythic terms. Yet the actual Jewish view of heaven is quite different. There are seven heavens, filled with angels and other divine beings, such as the Messiah [Not jesus!], who is said to have a palace of his own in the highest heaven. The clestial Temple can be found there- the mirror image of the Temple in the earthly Jerusalem- as well as an abundance of heavenly palaces, one for each of the patriarchs and matriarchs and sages, where he or she teaches Torah to the attentive souls of the righteous and the angels..." (xliii)

"Drawing on the full range of Jewish sources, sacred and nonsacred, ten major categories of Jewish mythology can be identified: Myths of God, Myths of Creation...Each of these categories explores a mythic realm, and, in the process, reimagines it. This is the secret to the transformations that characterize Jewish mythology. Building on a strong foundation of biblical myth, each generation has embellished the earlier myths, while, at the same time, reinterpeting them for tis own time." (xlv)

Book One: Myths of God

Part III: God's Existence

13. The First Being

Issue: G-d doesn't have any physical body at all, and everything exists through G-d. If one even dares to think of someone else or offer sacrifices for someone else, then they are violating the prohibition. It's also impossible that G-d doesn't exist, because if he didn't, universe itself wouldn't exist

14. The Cause of all Causes

Issue: G-d is above and below everything, and there is no other god below or above Him.

15. God's Omnipresence

Issue: G-d fills all places in heaven and earth. One time G-d filled up the Tent of Meeting, preventing Moses from entering the place.

16. God Alone

Issue: G-d is alone and is a single unique being. Each human being is encouraged to be with someone else, while G-d is okay with being alone

17. God's Existence

Issue: G-d will always and forever exist, and his creations tend to be a pair such as moon and a sun, or heaven and earth. G-d's presence also fills every single part of the world

18. God's Gaze

Issue: G-d must always keep his eyes on the world. If not, the world won't exist anymore.

19. God's day

Issue: Discussion on what does G-d do during the day such as judging, contemplating, visiting the sick, feeding the world and so forth. At night he possibly rides the fire chariot.

To be continued...

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