Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book I Part 3.15
Name of Book: Tree of Souls
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Year it was published: 2004
"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 III: God's Existence
13. The First Being
Issue: G-d doesn't have any physical body at all, and everything exists through G-d. If one even dares to think of someone else or offer sacrifices for someone else, then they are violating the prohibition. It's also impossible that G-d doesn't exist, because if he didn't, universe itself wouldn't exist
14. The Cause of all Causes
Issue: G-d is above and below everything, and there is no other god below or above Him.
15. God's Omnipresence
Issue: G-d fills all places in heaven and earth. One time G-d filled up the Tent of Meeting, preventing Moses from entering the place.
16. God Alone
Issue: G-d is alone and is a single unique being. Each human being is encouraged to be with someone else, while G-d is okay with being alone
17. God's Existence
Issue: G-d will always and forever exist, and his creations tend to be a pair such as moon and a sun, or heaven and earth. G-d's presence also fills every single part of the world
18. God's Gaze
Issue: G-d must always keep his eyes on the world. If not, the world won't exist anymore.
19. God's day
Issue: Discussion on what does G-d do during the day such as judging, contemplating, visiting the sick, feeding the world and so forth. At night he possibly rides the fire chariot.
To be continued...