Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book 2 Part 4.15

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 IV: The Work of Creation

113. God's Shout

Issue: G-d created heavens out fire and water. On only second day did heavens solidify when G-d shouted "Let there be a firmanent!"

114. The Work of Creation 

Issue: G-d used fire and water to create heavens, while he used either balls or two elements of of chaos and void or even a spark from primal darkness.

115. How the Heavens were Created

Issue: G-d used a type of garment to create the heavens which continued to expand until G-d told them to stop doing it. Afterwards G-d blessed the four corners of heaven.

116. The Earth's Foundations

Issue: Taken from book of Job, G-d asks Job where was he when G-d began to lay foundations for Earth and if Job knew how Earth's foundations were created.

117. Creation by God's Name

Issue: G-d used His own name to create heaven and earth and the various creations were swallowed up and bound together. There are also speculation on which of the letter of the name did G-d use?

118. Creation by God's Beauty

Issue: G-d's beauty helped set deeps ablaze, as well as firmaments and even gave birth to angels and trees and grasses.

119. The Palace of Heaven

Issue: Describes how G-d built a palace for Himself by spreading a roof then used clouds to create chariots, and whirlwind to create colonnades. G-d also built upper chambers and top stories and windows.

120. Creation according to Philo

Issue: G-d is eternally creating the world, ever since the beginning of time literally, and G-d used His own will to create the world.

To Be Continued...

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