Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book 2 Part 2.15

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 II: The Creation of the World

95. The Seven Days of Creation

 Issue:The myth begins with first of genesis about G-d creating light and moves on to Him creating an expanse, then to creation of earth, then to vegetation, creation of sun and moon, as well as that of animals and birds, as well as domesticated animals followed by creation of man and giving the dominion over to them and at last rested on the seventh day.

96. Ten Things created on the eve of the first Sabbath 

Issue: On the eve of the first Sabbath, numerous things such as mouth of earth, mouth of the well, rainbow and others were created.

97. Five Heavenly Things Sleeping in the Universe

Issue: Five things of immense power are sleeping and all belong to G-d.

98. God the Creator

Issue: G-d covered Himself with light as garment and then proceeded to begin the creation of the world such as laying out roof of upper chambers with waters and so forth.

99. The Rainbow

Issue: Various legends about the creation of rainbow are given out, one that perhaps it was created on the sixth day, while another legend is that it was created after the flood. There is also a legend that it becomes forbidden to stare at a rainbow due to G-d's bride living within it. When there is no sign of a rainbow, a righteous individual appears to protect the world.

100. The Time of Creation

Issue: There is a mystery as to when G-d decided to create the world, or if there was anything prior to creation of the world.

101. Everything was Created at Once

Issue: Everything in the world was created at once and that also they weren't in any way deficient and they contained descendants within.

102. How God Begot Being

Issue: G-d had strange relations with knowledge and begot with knowledge this world.

103. What Does the Earth Stand on?

Issue: During the exodus times, a bull covered a cow and begot her with a calf, which Aaron brother of Moses witnessed. The bull carries the earth on its horn. When people sin though, the world grows heavier for the bull to carry thus its tossed from one horn to another which causes catastrophes and earthquakes.

104. Creation Ex Nihilo

Issue: G-d brought out the world from nothing and brought it into being. Its uncertain what G-d intends for the world.

105. The Order of Creation

Issue: The universe is created from top down and there are details on how it occurred.

To Be Continued... 

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