Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book 2 Part 8.15

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 VIII: Rebellions Against God

138. The Rebellion of the Waters

Issue: On the second day, G-d tore upper waters from lower waters which caused them to rebel, to almost reach the Throne of Glory and to flood the earth. G-d said "Enough" and subdued them, which also stopped other type of waters from doing the same.

139.The Rebellion of Rahab

Issue: G-d asked Rahab, who is an angel of the sea, to swallow all the waters of the world. When Rahab refused to do so, G-d kicked Rahab,thus killing him.

140. The Prine of Darkness

Issue: G-d addressed the Prince of Darkness and asked him to leave so he could begin creation with light. Prince of Darkness refused and asked why not create the creation of darkness? G-d told him that first it will be light, and then He'll create darkness. There is also a prophecy towards the end of times.

141. The Fall of Lucifer

Issue: Lucifer is described as beautiful and perfect who resided in G-d's holy mountain and walked stones of fire and so forth. However, one day, he was filled with lawlessness and sinned when he claimed that he will take G-d's throne. On second day of Creation, he took his followers and legions adn tried to set himself up as equal to G-d. G-d hurled them from heights and cast them into a bottomless abyss.

142. Satan cast from heaven

Issue: When Adam was created, Satan flew like a bird in the air. Adam was created in G-d's image, G-d then summons the angel Michael and tells him that Adam is created in the likeness of His image. Michael summoned all hte angels and G-d asked them to bow down to Adam. Michael bowed down first and called upon Satan and also asked him to bow down. Satan refused to bow down along with some other angels. G-d became angry with Satan and cast him out from heaven to earth, as well as other angels who dared to follow Satan. G-d then prophecied that one day Adam would have dominion over Satan's rule. Satan then has his revenge in form of the snake and convincing both Adam and Eve to taste the forbidden fruit.

143. Satan's Bargain with God

Issue: The myth begins with the story of Job, of how much wealth he possessed in beginning. There is also mention of Job's piety. G-d then presents the Adversary and they begin talking about Job and how good he is. G-d gives the Adversary permission to do with Job as he likes, but not to lay a hand on him. Tragedies at once began to fall on Job. Despite all these tragedies Job never blasphemes or says anything horrible.

To Be Continued...

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