Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book 2 Part 1.15

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 Two: Myths of Creation

Part I: Before the World Was Created

88. The First to Exist

Issue: No one brought G-d to existence, only He Himself did that.

89. Before the World Was Created

Issue: Before the creation of the world, the world was filled with water on water and so forth. G-d's word silenced every creature that praised him, and allowed for the world to be created.

90. Prior Worlds 

Issue: G-d attempted to create thousands upon thousands of world, trying to create one that pleased Him, until finally this one was created.

91. The Primordial Elements 

Issue: To create the world, G-d used six elements such as light, darkness, chaos, void, wind (spirit) and water. There is also speculation as to where these elements came from

92. God Created Everything with Its Knowledge

Issue: Before the creation of the world, G-d asked each thing if it wanted to be created, and if it did, it came with conditions, but each creation also agreed to follow G-d's plan towards the prophets and Israelites.

93. The Beginning of Time

Issue: Time and the world were created at the same time. Before that, time didn't exist.

94. Seven Things Created Before the Creation of the World 

Issue: 2,000 years before the creation of the world, G-d created seven things such as Torah, Repentance, Paradise, Gehenna, Throne of Glory, heavenly Temple and name of the Messiah. Description of how these things appear follows as well establishment of the firmament.

To be continued...

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