Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism

Oxford University Press
2
Free sample

The first anthology of Jewish mythology in English, Tree of Souls reveals a mythical tradition as rich and as fascinating as any in the world. Drawing from the Bible, the Pseudepigrapha, the Talmud and Midrash, the kabbalistic literature, medieval folklore, Hasidic texts, and oral lore collected in the modern era, Schwartz has gathered together nearly 700 of the key Jewish myths. The myths themselves are marvelous. We read of Adams diamond and the Land of Eretz (where it is always dark), the fall of Lucifer and the quarrel of the sun and the moon, the Treasury of Souls and the Divine Chariot. We discover new tales about the great figures of the Hebrew Bible, from Adam to Moses; stories about God's Bride, the Shekhinah, and the evil temptress, Lilith; plus many tales about angels and demons, spirits and vampires, giant beasts and the Golem. Equally important, Schwartz provides a wealth of additional information. For each myth, he includes extensive commentary, revealing the source of the myth and explaining how it relates to other Jewish myths as well as to world literature (for instance, comparing Eves release of evil into the world with Pandoras). For ease of use, Schwartz divides the volume into ten books, Myths of God, Myths of Creation, Myths of Heaven, Myths of Hell, Myths of the Holy Word, Myths of the Holy Time, Myths of the Holy People, Myths of the Holy Land, Myths of Exile, and Myths of the Messiah.
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About the author

Howard Schwartz is Professor of English at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He is the editor of Elijah's Violin & Other Jewish Fairy Tales, Miriam's Tambourine: Jewish Folktales from Around the World, Lilith's Cave: Jewish Tales of the Supernatural, and Gabriel's Palace: Jewish Mystical Tales. Caren Loebel-Fried is an award-winning illustrator and author of many works on mythology. Her Hawaiian Legends of the Guardian Spirits received the 2003 Ka Palapala Po`okela Award for Excellence in Illustration.
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4.5
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Nov 1, 2004
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Pages
704
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ISBN
9780195358704
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
Religion / Judaism / General
Religion / Judaism / Sacred Writings
Social Science / Folklore & Mythology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Tales of magic and wonder can be found in every phase of Jewish literature, from the sacred to the secular. The fairy tale in particular--set in enchanted lands and populated with a variety of human and supernatural beings, both good and evil--holds a very special place in the Jewish tradition. For in the fairy tale, where good and evil engage in a timeless struggle, we have a clear reflection of the Jewish world view, where faith in God can defeat the evil impulse. In Elijah's Violin, Howard Schwartz offers a sumptuous collection of thirty-six Jewish fairy tales from virtually every corner of the world. At once otherworldy and earthy, pious and playful, these celebrated tales from Morocco and India, Spain and Eastern Europe, Babylon and Egypt, illustrate not only their Jewish character but also their universality of themes. Invoking the biblical tale of David and Goliath, we read as King David defeats the giant by hovering above its spear in King David and the Giant. In the romantic tale of The Princess in the Tower, a variant of Rapunzel, we watch as the cautious King Solomon recognizes the vanity in trying to prevent Providence from taking place. And we see the religious nature of the quest for Elijah's violin in the title story. The successful completion of the king's quest enables the violin's imprisoned melodies, emblematic of the Jewish spirit, to be set free. Throughout this richly illustrated collection, one can find the quests and riddles of the traditional fairy tale along with the divine intervention that characterizes the Jewish fairy tale. Skillfully translated, these stories will captivate children and adults alike in which romance and magic become enchantingly entwined with faith, duty, and wisdom.
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