Myths of Divinity


in Biblical Myth and Rabbinic Mythmaking

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780198267331
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602078 | DOI:
 Myths of Divinity

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This chapter examines ancient texts on God’s expressions of sorrow or anguish, whether in response to Israel’s suffering or as a matter of personal loss or distress. It is shown that rabbinic midrash has overcome all biblical restraint and silence on this theme, and repeatedly evokes the mythic image of a lamenting and tearful God. This subject is approached under three headings, expressing three modes of divine response to the destruction of the Temple and suffering of the people: memory and mourning, sympathy and sorrow, and desolation and despair. Rabbinic interfusion of myth and history is realized differently in each type.

Keywords: God; myths; divinity; divine pathos; personality; sorrow

Chapter.  17457 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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