Friday, February 8, 2013

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book I Part 6.15

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 VI: The Names of God

36. The God of the Fathers

Issue: Moses asks G-d what to say if Israelis ask who sent him, and G-d tells him to say that Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh sent him and gives brief chronology of Moses's ancestors. Taken from Exodus 3:13-15

37. The Tetragrammaton 

Issue: Creation emanates from G-d's holy name which is YHVH. First revelation of the name was to an empty hollow.

38. The Lord of Hosts

Issue: A story of how Ishmael ben Elisha went to Holy of Holies to offer incense and Lord of Hosts has asked Elisha to bless Him, which he had done.

39. God's Robe of Glory

Issue: Various speculations on G-d's robe of glory, such as how its engraved with either G-d's holy name and what happens if someone glimpses it.

To be continued...

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