Friday, March 15, 2013

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book I Part 11.15

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 XI: God Walks in the World

57. God Walks in the Garden

Issue: Simple. A line from the book of Genesis Chapter three, line eight.

58. God's Lantern

Issue: G-d walks before Israel carrying a lantern and protecting the nation of Israel for forty years. It's also meant that other nations will treat Israel with respect.

59. God descends to Mount Sinai

Issue: Moses leads people to Mount Sinai but they beg to only let G-d speak to Moses for they are afraid that if G-d speaks to them they will die. Moses assures them its a test, and that they won't die and begins speaking to G-d.

60. The Tent of Meeting

Issue: This story is briefly paraphrased from Exodus chapters 33 and 40, lines 7-11 and 34-37, about the cloud blocking the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, and of taking up the cloud and marching on further through the desert.

61. The Cottage of Candles

Issue: A Jew begins a quest to seek out true justice. He found a forest but got mocked at by thieves and witches for trying to find justice. He found an empty cottage and entered it. Everywhere he saw candles all over. He is greeted by the old and tells him of the quest trying to find justice, asking him about candles too. The old tells him that each is a person's soul. He asks to his own soul. He has a short time to live and asks about the candle next to his which is bright one. The old man refuses to answer him and leaves him alone. He doesn't want to die, tries to make his life longer but fails.

To be continued...

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