Saturday, November 7, 2015

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book 2 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 Two: Myths of Creation

 Part VI: Myths of Origin

129. The Origin of Chaos

Issue: A question about what existed before the world existed? Chaos and void. Origin of chaos is recounted as well as how Wisdom came about and became a form of primordial light. Wisdom also serves as a veil.

130. The First Sunset

Issue: Adam and Eve experienced the first sunset in where Adam thought that he and Eve were destined to die, but it wasn't the case thus Adam wore priestly garments that he passed on to Seth.

131. The Origin of Fire

Issue: When the sun sank, Adam was terrified that something bad would happen, but G-d directed him to strike fire with flint.

132. What Causes Earthquakes?

Issue: Various myths about origins of earthquakes; one being that G-d is upset and His voice creates earthquakes, other myth is of G-d clapping his hands, G-d groaning, and G-d stampin in heavens, and last but not least, G-d squeezing His feet under the Throne of Glory

133. The Roots of Everything

Issue: During the six days of Creation, G-d looked over the world and created everything that was to ever exist.

To Be Continued...

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