Thursday, January 3, 2013

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book I 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 One: Myths of God

Part II: Sefirotic Myths

7. The Thirty-two Paths of Wisdom

Issue: Ten Sefirot as well as the twenty two letters of Hebrew alphabet create thirty two paths of wisdom.

8. The Ten Sefirot

Issue: The ten Sefirot are beyond human understanding, and there is also the fact that G-d hides himself within them. They control everything. (Sefirot are  kabbalistic emanations.)

9. The Twenty-Two Letters

Issue: Through the twenty two letters of Hebrew alphabet, G-d forms everything that ever existed or could exist. The letters also rule various elements.

10. The Infinite Being

Issue: The Infinite Being is everywhere without beginning nor end, and from Him everything is suffused with His Essence.

11. The Seven Forms of God

Issue: The counterparts of men are in fact the seven holy forms of G-d.

12. The Ten Crowns of God

Issue: The ten crowns of G-d are inseparable from Him, just as He is inseparable from them.

To be continued...

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