Sunday, November 29, 2015

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book 2 Part 7.15

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 VII: Myths of the Sacred Waters

134. The Great Sea

Issue: Begins with the story of how ocean, or Okeanos came to be then continues with different types of waters and how they interconnect with one another. A brief story of Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua's journey to Place of Swallowing and them presenting the water to Caesar. Also a brief story about how sun's candles become extinguished when it during the night and how much the clouds depend on Okeanos.

135. The Fiery Waves

Issue: The waves that sink ships have a white fringe of fire and the only way to beat them is with a club and specific type of words.

136. The Upper Waters and the Lower Waters

Issue:  The Upper and Lower waters were mixed together until G-d commanded them to separate and when they refused he used his little finger to tear them apart. The upper waters are suspended above by diving command and when they rain, they ask for lower waters to receive them. This causes for the earth to be fed above and below. If the firmament were to ever go away, there will be chaos.

137. The Spirit of the Firmament

Issue: A story of creation of Firmament and how it separated waters from waters.

To Be Continued...

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