Jewish mythology

Jewish mythology

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Jewish mythology'
Start a new discussion about 'Jewish mythology'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Jewish mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

is generally the sacred and traditional narratives that help explain and symbolize the Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 religion, whereas Jewish folklore consists of the folk tales and legend
Legend
A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude...

s that existed in the general Jewish culture. There is very little early folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 distinct from the aggadah
Aggadah
Aggadah refers to the homiletic and non-legalistic exegetical texts in the classical rabbinic literature of Judaism, particularly as recorded in the Talmud and Midrash...

 literature. However, mythology and folklore has survived and expanded among the Jewish people in all eras of its history.

In the Tanakh


The Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 (Hebrew Bible) are the foundational Jewish texts. They contain all of the sacred Jewish knowledge from Creation to statehood and loss of sovereignty, including the direct intervention of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, His covenants, laws, requirement for rituals, and miracles contained in the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

, and the allegedly largely historical account of the nation of Israel that traces the histories of the twelve tribes of Israel back to Adam and Eve. While the vast majority of the world's myths take place before recorded history of the respective societies begins, the bulk of Tanakh is an allegedly written record of Jewish history, with only a small part dedicated to pre-Jewish history. While Tanakh does contain a significant amount of knowledge that can be said to be "a sacred narrative in the sense that it contributes to systems of thought and values, and that people attach religious or spiritual significance to it", it also contains a large amount of knowledge of strictly practical value in application such as building codes, regulations on hygiene and dietary intake, finance and standards of measurement, and others [e.g. Exodus 21:1-23:19. Leviticus 6:1-7; chapters 11-15; 17:10-16; 18:1-20:27; ch. 25; ch. 27. Numbers ch. 30. Deuteronomy chapters 14-15 and 17 and 19-25. 1 Samuel 30:18-25. The book of Proverbs. Ezekiel 45:1-17. Malachi 2:13-16]. In fact what is considered spiritual
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 by modern society, the Jewish Kabbalah
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

,
had not become evident until the Mishnaic period, and had not reached peak of acceptance as part of the religious system as a whole until the Middle Ages.

Even if the larger interpretation of Mythology as folklore is accepted, the nature of Jewish traditions, or minhag
Minhag
Minhag is an accepted tradition or group of traditions in Judaism. A related concept, Nusach , refers to the traditional order and form of the prayers...

im that would constitute the "transmissible entity" rarely reach to the Tanakh period.

The "material culture" of Judaism is mandated by its general rules or Halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 that include the Mezuzah
Mezuzah
A mezuzah is usually a metal or wooden rectangular object that is fastened to a doorpost of a Jewish house. Inside it is a piece of parchment inscribed with specified Hebrew verses from the Torah...

 as its earliest example, and the Tefillin
Tefillin
Tefillin also called phylacteries are a set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah, which are worn by observant Jews during weekday morning prayers. Although "tefillin" is technically the plural form , it is loosely used as a singular as...

 as the most often seen example. Neither are considered to be "folklore artifacts" with both manufactured by qualified scribes.

Almost no "culture" can be traced from modern observant Jewish communities to the Tanakh. The wide differentiation observed even within the normatively "orthodox" haredi societies underscores the lack of common "culture" despite the commonality of Kol Torah among its leaders such as the World Agudath Israel
World Agudath Israel
World Agudath Israel , usually known as the Aguda, was established in the early twentieth century as the political arm of Ashkenazi Torah Judaism, in succession to Agudas Shlumei Emunei Yisroel...

.

Although "behavior" is something that is derived from the Tanakh by the observant Jews, the many ritual
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

s that could be considered folklore can not be practiced due to the lack of availability of the designated place, the Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

. These rituals have been replaced by other, rationalized rituals that bear little resemblance to accepted forms of folklore or mythology in other societies.

In the Talmud


The Jewish people's tendency to adopt the neighboring pagan practices, denounced as it had been by the Jewish prophets, returned with force during the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

ic period. However, almost no mythology was borrowed until the Midrashic and Talmudic periods, when what can be described as mysticism emerged in the kabbalistic
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 schools. One such aspect was the appearance of the "Shedim", or demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s; these became ubiquitous to the ordinary Jews with the increased access to the study of the Talmud after the invention of the printing press.

The classical rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

s themselves were at times not free from sharing in the popular beliefs. Thus, while there is a whole catalog of prognostications by means of Dreams in Ber. 55 et seq., and Rabbi Johanan claimed that those dreams are true which come in the morning or are dreamed about us by others, or are repeated, Rabbi Meïr declares that dreams help not and injure not. Dream interpretation is not however a factor in considering mythologyfication of Talmud knowledge since it was at the time a part of the wider nascent development of what later became the discipline of Psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

, and also incorporated Astrology
Astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

, and effect of digestion on behaviour.

An example of typical mythology in the Talmud (חולין נט ע"ב - ע"ב, Chullin 59b) exists as a discussion about a giant deer and a giant lion which are both originated in a mythical forest called "Dvei Ilai". The deer is called "keresh". The lion, called "tigris", is said to be so big that there is space of 9 feet between the lobes of his lung. The Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 Caesar
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

 once asked a Rabbi to show him this lion, since every lion can be killed, but the Rabbi refused and pointed out that this is not a normal lion. The Roman Caesar insisted, so the Rabbi called for the lion of "Dvei Ilai". He roared once from a distance of 400 amot
Åmot
Åmot is a municipality in Hedmark county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Østerdalen. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Rena...

 and all the city walls of Rome tumbled down. Then he came to 300 amot and roared again and the front teeth and molars of Roman men fall out.

The authorities of the Talmud seem to be particularly influenced by popular conception in the direction of folk medicine
Folk medicine
-Description:Refers to healing practices and ideas of body physiology and health preservation known to a limited segment of the population in a culture, transmitted informally as general knowledge, and practiced or applied by anyone in the culture having prior experience.All cultures and societies...

. A belief in the Evil eye
Evil eye
The evil eye is a look that is believed by many cultures to be able to cause injury or bad luck for the person at whom it is directed for reasons of envy or dislike...

 was also prevalent in Talmudic times, and occasionally omens were taken seriously, though in some cases recognized as being merely popular beliefs. Thus, while it is declared to be unlucky to do things twice, as eating, drinking, or washing, Rabbi Dunai recognized that this was an old tradition. A remarkable custom mentioned in the Talmud is that of planting trees when children are born and intertwining them to form the huppah when they marry. Yet this idea may be originally Persian and is also found in India.

It may be possible to distinguish in the haggadic legends of Biblical character those portions that probably formed part of the original accounts from those that have been developed by the exegetic principles of the haggadists.

The uniqueness of the Talmudic style of both recording meaning and deriving it using exegesis places the many seemingly mythological components of the much larger halachic content into a content very unlike the purely story-telling corpus of other cultures.

In post-Talmudic times


After the dispersion of the Jews
Diaspora
A diaspora is "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland" or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location", or "people settled far from their ancestral homelands".The word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of...

, the Jewish people spread among the peoples of the earth and were influenced by other cultures. Mythographers have been studying how Jewish mythology began to borrow or adapt stories and ideas from various cultures. Mythology was naturally acquired and adapted to each time and place.

A variation in custom is sometimes found between one set of Jews and another which enables the inquirer to determine the origin of them. Thus, English Jews sometimes show a disinclination to sit down with thirteen at a table, probably copied from their Christian neighbors who connect the superstition with the Last Supper of Jesus; whereas Russian Jews consider thirteen as a particularly lucky number, as it is the gematria of "echad" (one), the last and most important word of the Shema. [aleph (1) + khet (8) + daled (4) = 13]

On the other hand, many stories are specifically Jewish in nature and origination. For example, the belief that the resurrection of the dead will take place in the valley of Jehoshaphat is a specifically Jewish corollary to their narratives of an after-life, and a veneration of Jerusalem.

In ancient folktales


Jewish folktales were those stories usually containing incidents of a superhuman character, spread among the folk either by traditions from their elders or by communication from strangers. Folktales are characterized by the presence of unusual personages (dwarfs, giants, fairies, ghosts, etc.), by the sudden transformation of men into beasts and vice versa, or by other unnatural incidents (flying horses, a hundred years' sleep, and the like). Of a similar kind are the drolls of the nursery, generally consisting of a number of simple "sells." A number of haggadic stories
Aggadah
Aggadah refers to the homiletic and non-legalistic exegetical texts in the classical rabbinic literature of Judaism, particularly as recorded in the Talmud and Midrash...

 bear folktale characteristics, especially those relating to Og
Og
Og, according to the bible, was an Amorite king of Bashan who, along with his army, was slain by Moses and his men at the battle of Edrei...

, King of Bashan, which have the same exaggerations as have the "Lügenmärchen" of modern German folktales There are signs that a certain number of fables were adopted by the Rabbis either from Greek or, indirectly, from Persian and Indian sources.

In the Middle Ages


There is considerable evidence of Jewish people helping the spread of Eastern folk-tales in Europe. Besides these tales from foreign sources, Jews either collected or composed others which were told throughout the European ghettos, and were collected in Yiddish in the "Maasebücher". Numbers of the folktales contained in these collections were also published separately. It is, however, difficult to call many of them folktales in the sense given above, since nothing fairy-like or supernormal occurs in them.

Legends



There are a few definitely Jewish legends of the Middle Ages which partake of the character of folktales, such as those of the Jewish pope Andreas
Jewish pope Andreas
Jewish pope Andreas is a legend about a Jewish pope of uncertain accuracy. The 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia writes. "According to an old Spanish document discovered among some penitential liturgies by Eliezer ben Solomon Ashkenazi, the editor of "Ṭa'am Zeḳenim" , Andreas was a Jew who, upon becoming a...

 and of the golem
Golem
In Jewish folklore, a golem is an animated anthropomorphic being, created entirely from inanimate matter. The word was used to mean an amorphous, unformed material in Psalms and medieval writing....

, or that relating to the wall of the Rashi chapel, which moved backward in order to save the life of a poor woman who was in danger of being crushed by a passing carriage in the narrow way. Several of these legends were collected by Tendlau ("Sagen und Legenden der Jüdischen Vorzeit").

In the late 19th century many folk-tales were gathered among Jews or published from Hebrew manuscripts by Israel Lévi in "Revue des Etudes Juives," in "Revue des Traditions Populaires," and in "Melusine "; by M. Gaster
Moses Gaster
Moses Gaster was a Romanian-born Jewish-British scholar, the Hakham of the Spanish and Portuguese congregation, London, and a Hebrew linguist. He was also the son-in-law of Michael Friedländer, principal of Jews' College. The surname Gaster is taken from Spanish Castro, indicating his Sephardic...

 in "Folk-Lore" and in the reports of Montefiore College; and by M. Grunwald
Grunwald
Grunwald may refer to:* Battle of Grunwald, a decisive battle fought in 1410 in what is now northern Poland* Grunwald, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, a village near the site of the battle* Gmina Grunwald, a municipality containing the village of Grunwald...

 in "Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Jüdische Volkskunde"; by L. Wiener
Wiener
Wiener is German for Viennese, but may also refer to:* A German sausage named after Vienna * A sausage used in hot dogsWiener is the surname of:* Alexander S...

 in the same periodical; and by F. S. Krauss
Krauss
Krauss is a German language surname meaning "curly", and may refer to:* Alison Krauss, an American bluegrass musician* Clemens Krauss, an Austrian conductor...

 in "Urquell," both series.

Altogether some sixty or seventy folk-tales have been found among Jews of the present day; but in scarcely a single case is there anything specifically Jewish about the stories, while in most cases they can be traced back to folk-tales current among the surrounding peoples. Thus the story of "Kunz and His Shepherd" occurs in English as "King John and the Abbot of Canterbury"; and "The Magician's Pupil" is also found widely spread. The well-known story of the "Language of Birds," which has been studied by Frazer, is given in "Mitteilungen," i. 77. No. 4 in the collection of Wiener is the widespread folk-tale of "The Giant's Daughter," which some have traced back to the legend of Medea. Two of the stories collected by Grunwald, No. 13, "The Birds of Ibycus," and No. 14, "The Ring of Polycrates," appear to be traceable to classical sources; while his No. 4 gives the well-known episode of the "Thankful Beasts," which Theodor Benfey
Theodor Benfey
This is about the philologist. For the Theodor Benfey who developed a spiral periodic table of the elements in 1964 -- Otto Theodor Benfey -- see Alternative periodic tables....

 traced across Europe through India. Even in the tales having a comic termination and known to the folk-lorists as drolls, there are no signs of Jewish originality. The first of the stories collected by Wiener is the well-known "Man in the Sack," who gets out of his difficulties by telling passers-by that he has been unwillingly condemned to marry a princess.

Comparative mythology


Jewish mythology contains similarities to myths of other cultures, and it may have absorbed elements from other ancient Near Eastern mythologies. Judaism has also reacted against these mythologies, seeking to purge its own mythology of "pagan" elements. In addition, elements of Jewish mythology have had a profound influence on Christian and Islamic mythology, as well as Western culture in general. Christian mythology
Christian mythology
Christian mythology is the body of myths associated with Christianity. In the study of mythology, the term "myth" refers to a traditional story, often one which is regarded as sacred and which explains how the world and its inhabitants came to have their present form.Classicist G.S. Kirk defines a...

 directly inherited many of the narratives from the Jewish people, sharing in common the narratives from the Old Testament, especially sharing the stories that speak of creation of the earth and people and the belief in one God as heavenly father. Islamic mythology
Islamic mythology
Islamic mythology is the body of traditional narratives associated with Islam from a mythographical perspective. Many Muslims believe that these narratives are historical and sacred and contain profound truths...

 also came after Jewish, and shares some of the same stories; for instance, a creation account spaced out over six periods, the legend of Abraham, the stories of Moses and the Israelites and the allegory of the long spoons.

Contrasts with pagan mythology


The ancient Hebrews often participated in the religious practices of their Near Eastern neighbors, worshiping other gods alongside their own god
Monolatrism
Monolatrism or monolatry is the recognition of the existence of many gods, but with the consistent worship of only one deity...

, the God of Israel (YHWH). For instance, during Ezekiel
Ezekiel
Ezekiel , "God will strengthen" , is the central protagonist of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible. In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Ezekiel is acknowledged as a Hebrew prophet...

's time, Hebrew women joined in the worship of Tammuz, a Babylonian fertility god. These pagan religions were forms of nature worship: their deities were personifications of natural phenomena like storms and fertility. Because of its nature worship, Mircea Eliade argues, Near Eastern paganism expressed itself in "rich and dramatic mythologies" featuring "strong and dynamic gods" and "orgiastic divinities".

The Biblical prophets, including Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah, had a concept of the divine that differed significantly from that of the nature religions.
According to Jewish mythology, their lives were full of miracle
Miracle
A miracle often denotes an event attributed to divine intervention. Alternatively, it may be an event attributed to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that a god may work with the laws...

s, signs, and visions from God that kept Jewish mythology alive, growing, and distinct from the pagan mythologies of its neighbors.
Instead of seeing the God of Israel as just own national god
National god
The concept of a national god is most closely associated with the God of Israel who in the Torah is described as the sole God to be worshipped by the nation of Israel...

, these prophets saw him as the one God of the entire universe.

The prophets condemned Hebrew participation in nature worship, and they refused to completely identify the divine with natural forces. In so doing, they set the stage for a new kind of mythology — a mythology featuring a single God who exists beyond the natural world. Unlike Tammuz, who dies and revives along with the vegetation, the God of the Hebrew prophets is beyond nature and, therefore, isn't bound by the natural rhythms:
"Where the Babylonian gods were engaged in an ongoing battle against the forces of chaos, and needed the rituals of the New Year festival to restore their energies, Yahweh can simply rest on the seventh day, his work complete."

Through the prophets' influence, Jewish mythology increasingly portrayed God as aloof from nature and acting independently of natural forces. On one hand, this produced a mythology that was, in a sense, more complex. Instead of eternally repeating a seasonal cycle of acts, Yahweh stood outside nature and intervened in it, producing new, historically unprecedented events:
"That was theophany
Theophany
Theophany, from the Ancient Greek , meaning "appearance of God"), refers to the appearance of a deity to a human or other being, or to a divine disclosure....

 of a new type, hitherto unknown—the intervention of Jahveh in history. It was therefore something irreversible and unrepeatable. The fall of Jerusalem
Siege of Jerusalem (70)
The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD was the decisive event of the First Jewish-Roman War. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by its Jewish defenders in...

 does not repeat the fall of Samaria: the ruin of Jerusalem presents a new historic theophany, another 'wrath' of Jahveh. […] Jahveh stands out from the world of abstractions, of symbols and generalities; he acts in history and enters into relations with actual historical beings."

On the other hand, this transcendent God was absolutely unique and hard for humans to relate to. Thus, the myths surrounding Him were, in a sense, less complex: they did not involve the acts of multiple, anthropomorphic gods. In this sense, "Jahveh is surrounded by no multiple and varied myths", and did not share in the "rich and dramatic mythologies" of his pagan counterparts.

The Hebrew prophets had to struggle against the nature gods' popularity, and Jewish mythology reflects this struggle. In fact, some Jewish myths may have been consciously designed to reflect the conflict between paganism and a new uncompromising monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

. In Psalm 82, God stands up in the divine council and condemns the pagan deities: though they are gods, He says, they will die like mortal men.
Freelance scholar Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong FRSL , is a British author and commentator who is the author of twelve books on comparative religion. A former Roman Catholic nun, she went from a conservative to a more liberal and mystical faith...

 interprets the creation myth of Genesis 1 "as a poised, calm polemic against the old belligerent cosmogonies", particularly the Babylonian cosmogonic myth. The Babylonian Enuma Elish
Enûma Elish
The is the Babylonian creation myth . It was recovered by Austen Henry Layard in 1849 in the ruined Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh , and published by George Smith in 1876.The Enûma Eliš has about a thousand lines and is recorded in Old Babylonian on seven clay tablets, each holding...

describes the god Marduk
Marduk
Marduk was the Babylonian name of a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon, who, when Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates valley in the time of Hammurabi , started to...

 earning kingship over the other gods, battling the monster Tiamat
Tiamat
In Babylonian mythology, Tiamat is a chaos monster, a primordial goddess of the ocean, mating with Abzû to produce younger gods. It is suggested that there are two parts to the Tiamat mythos, the first in which Tiamat is 'creatrix', through a "Sacred marriage" between salt and fresh water,...

, and creating the world from her corpse. In contrast, Armstrong argues, in the Genesis account (and in the book of Isaiah that describe Yahweh's victory over the sea-monster Leviathan
Leviathan
Leviathan , is a sea monster referred to in the Bible. In Demonology, Leviathan is one of the seven princes of Hell and its gatekeeper . The word has become synonymous with any large sea monster or creature...

),
"the sun, moon, stars, sky and earth are not gods in their own right, hostile to Yahweh. They are subservient to him, and created for a purely practical end. The sea-monster is no Tiamat, but is God's creature and does his bidding."

Connections with pagan mythology


Some comparative mythologists
Comparative mythology
Comparative mythology is the comparison of myths from different cultures in an attempt to identify shared themes and characteristics. Comparative mythology has served a variety of academic purposes...

 think Jewish mythology absorbed elements from pagan mythology. According to these scholars, even while resisting pagan worship, the Jews willingly absorbed elements of pagan mythology. Whether or not Judaism actually absorbed ideas from paganism, Jewish myths contain similarities to myths of other cultures.

The flood


The Hebrew story of Noah's Ark and the flood
Noah's Ark
Noah's Ark is a vessel appearing in the Book of Genesis and the Quran . These narratives describe the construction of the ark by Noah at God's command to save himself, his family, and the world's animals from the worldwide deluge of the Great Flood.In the narrative of the ark, God sees the...

 has similarities to ancient flood stories told worldwide. One of the closest parallels is the Mesopotamian myth of a world flood, recorded in The Epic of Gilgamesh. In the Hebrew Bible flood story (Genesis 6:5-22), God decides to flood the world and start over, due to mankind's sinfulness. However, God sees that a man named Noah was righteous (because he walked with God) and blameless among the people. God instructs Noah to build an ark, and directs him to bring at least two of every animal inside the boat, along with his family. The flood comes and covers the world. After 40 days, Noah sends a raven to check whether the waters have subsided, then a dove; after exiting the boat, Noah offers a sacrifice to God, who smells "the sweet savour" and promises never to destroy the earth by water again -and making the rainbow a symbol of this promise. Similarly, in the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, the bustle of humanity disturbs the gods, who decide to send a flood. Warned by one of the gods, a man named Utnapishtim builds a boat and takes his family and animals inside. After the flood, Utnapishtim sends a dove, then a swallow, then a raven to check whether the waters have subsided. After exiting the boat, Utnapishtim offers a sacrifice to the gods, who smell "the sweet savour" and repent their choice to send the flood.

Another ancient flood myth is the Hindu story of Matsya
Matsya
Matsya was the first Avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism. The great flood finds mention in Hindu mythology texts like the Satapatha Brahmana, where in the Matsya Avatar takes place to save the pious and the first man, Manu and advices him to build a giant boat.-The Legend:According to the Matsya...

 the fish. According to this story, the god Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

 takes the form of a fish and warns the ancestor Manu
Manu (Hinduism)
In various Hindu traditions, Manu is a title accorded to the progenitor of mankind, and also the very first brahman king to rule this earth, who saved mankind from the universal flood. He was absolutely honest which was why he was initially known as "Satyavrata"...

 about a coming flood. He tells Manu to put all the creatures of the earth into a boat. Unlike the Biblical and Mesopotamian floods, however, this flood is not a unique event brought on by a divine choice; instead, it's one of the destructions and recreations of the universe that happen at regular intervals in Hindu mythology
Hindu mythology
Hindu religious literature is the large body of traditional narratives related to Hinduism, notably as contained in Sanskrit literature, such as the Sanskrit epics and the Puranas. As such, it is a subset of Nepali and Indian culture...

.

The "combat myth"


Many of the Hebrews' pagan neighbors had a "combat myth" about the good god battling the demon of chaos; one example of this mytheme
Mytheme
In the study of mythology, a mytheme is the essential kernel of a myth—an irreducible, unchanging element, a minimal unit that is always found shared with other, related mythemes and reassembled in various ways—"bundled" was Claude Lévi-Strauss's image— or linked in more...

 is the Bablyonian Enuma Elish
Enûma Elish
The is the Babylonian creation myth . It was recovered by Austen Henry Layard in 1849 in the ruined Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh , and published by George Smith in 1876.The Enûma Eliš has about a thousand lines and is recorded in Old Babylonian on seven clay tablets, each holding...

. A lesser known example is the very fragmentary myth of Labbu
Labbu
In Mesopotamian myth Labbu was a lion-serpent sea-dragon, that was killed by the god-king Tishpak, "warrior of the gods". The myth recounting the predations and defeat of this supernatural adversary figure, of which the most familiar is Satan, has Canaanite origins; it appears in two very...

. According to historian Bernard McGinn
Bernard McGinn (theologian)
Bernard McGinn is a theologian, historian, and scholar of spirituality, affiliated with the University of Chicago, where he is Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology and of the History of Christianity in the Divinity School and the Committees on Medieval Studies and on...

, the combat myth's imagery influenced Jewish mythology. The myth of God's triumph over Leviathan
Leviathan
Leviathan , is a sea monster referred to in the Bible. In Demonology, Leviathan is one of the seven princes of Hell and its gatekeeper . The word has become synonymous with any large sea monster or creature...

, a symbol of chaos, has the form of a combat myth. In addition, McGinn thinks the Hebrews applied the "combat myth" motif to the relationship between God and Satan: originally a deputy in God's court, assigned to act as mankind's "accuser" (satan means "to oppose"), Satan evolved into a being with "an apparently independent realm of operation as a source of evil" — no longer God's deputy but his opponent in a cosmic struggle.

Even the Exodus story shows influence. McGinn believes the "Song of the sea
Song of the sea
The Song of the Sea is a poem that appears in the Book of Exodus of the Hebrew Bible, at . It is followed in verses 20 and 21 by a much shorter song sung by Miriam and the other women...

", which the Hebrews sang after seeing God drown the Egyptian army in the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

, includes "motifs and language from the combat myth used to emphasize the importance of the foundational event in Israel's religious identity: the crossing of the Red Sea and deliverance from the Pharaoh." Likewise, Armstrong notes the similarity between pagan myths in which gods "split the sea in half when they created the world" and the story of the Exodus from Egypt, in which Moses splits the Sea of Reeds (the Red Sea) — "though what is being brought into being in the Exodus, is not a cosmos but a people". In any case, the motif of God as the "divine warrior" fighting on Israel's behalf is clearly evident in the Song of the Sea (Ex. 15). This motif is recurrent in poetry throughout the Hebrew Scriptures (I Samuel 2; Zechariah 9:11-16;14:3-8).

Other connections with non-Jewish mythology


Also possibly derived from pagan mythology is the story of the "Watchers
Grigori
The Watchers is a term found in the Old Testament Book of Daniel, and later sources, which is connected to angels...

" (Genesis 6:1-4). According to this story, heavenly beings once descended to earth, intermarried with humans, and produced the nephilim, "the heroes of old, men of renown". Jewish tradition regards those heavenly beings as wicked angels, but the myth may be a fragment of pagan mythology about gods interbreeding with humans to produce heroes.

Joseph Campbell notes that the Eden narrative's forbidden tree is an example of a motif "very popular in fairy tales, known to folklore students as the One Forbidden Thing". For another example of the One Forbidden Thing, see the Serbian fairy tale Bash Chelik
Bash Chelik
Baš Čelik , meaning "head of steel", from Turkish baş for "head" and çelik for "steel", is a famous Serbian folk tale. It is similar to the Brothers Grimm's "The Crystal Orb" .-Synopsis:...

, in which the hero is forbidden to open a certain door but he does anyway, thereby releasing the villain. Also see the classic story of Pandora's box, which existed in ancient Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

.

Jewish mythology and linear time


According to the Near Eastern specialist William A. Irwin, the Hebrew Bible presents history as "a comprehensive reality" raised "to the highest importance". Time is linear in Jewish mythology, and Jewish scripture traces ancestors and genealogies.

Other traditional cultures limited mythical events to the beginning of time, and saw important historical events as repetitions of those mythical events. In contrast, the important events in Jewish mythology are not limited to a far-off primordial age: Jewish myths and legends stretch "out of the far past into an eternal future". According to Mircea Eliade, the Hebrew prophets "valorized" history, seeing historical events as episodes in a continual divine revelation. This doesn't mean that all historical events have significance in Judaism; however, in Jewish mythology, significant events happen throughout history, and they are not merely repetitions of each other; each significant event is a new act of God:
"The fall of Samaria actually did occur in history [...] It was therefore something irreversible and unrepeatable. The fall of Jerusalem does not repeat the fall of Samaria: the ruin of Jerusalem presents a new historic theophany."

By portraying time as a linear progression of events, rather than an eternal repetition, Jewish mythology suggested the possibility for progress.

This view of history was very innovative for the times. Inherited by Christianity, it has deeply influenced Western philosophy and culture. Even supposedly secular or political Western movements have worked within the world-view of progress and linear history inherited from Judaism. Because of this legacy, the religious historian Mircea Eliade
Mircea Eliade
Mircea Eliade was a Romanian historian of religion, fiction writer, philosopher, and professor at the University of Chicago. He was a leading interpreter of religious experience, who established paradigms in religious studies that persist to this day...

 argues that "Judaeo-Christianity makes an innovation of the first importance" in mythology.

Possibility of Zoroastrian influence


The mythologist Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell
Joseph John Campbell was an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work is vast, covering many aspects of the human experience...

 believes the Judeo-Christian idea of linear, progressive history originated with the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

. In the mythologies of India and the Far East, "the world was not to be reformed, but only known, revered, and its laws obeyed". In contrast, in Zoroastrianism, the current world is "corrupt [...] and to be reformed by human action". According to Campbell, this "progressive view of cosmic history" "can be heard echoed and re-echoed, in Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Aramaean, Arabic, and every tongue of the West".

R. C. Zaehner, a professor of Eastern religions, argues for Zoroastrianism's direct influence on Jewish eschatological myths, especially the resurrection of the dead with rewards and punishments.

Mircea Eliade believes that the Hebrews had a sense of linear time before their contact with Zoroastrianism. However, he agrees with Zaehner that Judaism elaborated its mythology of linear time with eschatological elements that originated in Zoroastrianism. According to Eliade, these elements include ethical dualism, the myth of a savior, and "an optimistic eschatology, proclaiming the final triumph of Good".

Aggadah and folklore compilations

  • "The Legends of the Jews", by Rabbi Louis Ginzberg
    Louis Ginzberg
    Rabbi Louis Ginzberg was a Talmudist and leading figure in the Conservative Movement of Judaism of the twentieth century. He was born on November 28, 1873, in Kovno, Lithuania; he died on November 11, 1953, in New York City.-Biographical background:...

    , is an original synthesis of a vast amount of aggadah from the Mishnah
    Mishnah
    The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

    , the two Talmuds and Midrash
    Midrash
    The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

    . Ginzberg had an encyclopedic knowledge of all rabbinic literature, and his masterwork included a massive array of aggadot. However he did not create an anthology which showed these aggadot distinctly. Rather, he paraphrased them and rewrote them into one continuous narrative that covered five volumes, followed by two volumes of footnotes that give specific sources.
  • The Ein Yaakov
    Ein Yaakov
    Ein Yaakov is a compilation of all the Aggadic material in the Talmud together with commentaries. Its introduction contains an account of the history of Talmudic censorship and the term Gemara...

    is a compilation of the aggadic material in the Babylonian Talmud together with commentary.
  • Sefer Ha-Aggadah, "The Book of Legends" is a classic compilation of aggadah from the Mishnah, the two Talmuds and the Midrash literature. It was edited by Hayim Nahman Bialik and Yehoshua Hana Ravnitzky. Bialik and Ravnitky worked to compile a comprehensive and representative overview of aggadah; they spent three years compiling their work. When they found the same aggadah in multiple versions, from multiple sources, they usually selected the later form, the one found in the Babylonian Talmud. However they also presented a great some aggadot sequentially, giving the early form from the Jerusalem Talmud, and later versions from the Babylonian Talmud, and from a classic midrash compilation. In each case each every aggadah is given with its original source. In their original edition, they translated the Aramaic aggadot into modern Hebrew. Sefer Ha-Aggadah was first published in 1908-11 in Odessa
    Odessa
    Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

    , Russia, then reprinted numerous times in Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

    . In 1992 it was translated into English as "The Book of Legends", by William G, Braude.
  • Mimekor Yisrael, by Micha Josef (bin Gorion) Berdyczewski
    Micha Josef Berdyczewski
    Micha Josef Berdyczewski , or Mikhah Yosef Bin-Gorion was a Ukrainian-born writer of Hebrew, a journalist, and a scholar...

    . Berdyczewski was interested in compiling the folklore and legends of the Jewish people, from the earliest times up until the dawn of the modern era. His collection included a large array of aggadot, although they were limited to those he considered within the domain of folklore.

Related to science fiction


In the past century to modern day, there have been many retellings of Jewish myths (mostly from the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

), and adaptations for the modern public. They have mostly been in the regions of science-fiction; as Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

 noted in his introduction to More Wandering Stars:
"...Can science fiction be part of Jewish culture? From fantasy stories we know?/ And as I think of it, it begins to seem to me that it is and we do know. And the source? From where else? From the Hebrew source for everything-- From the Bible. We have but to look through the Bible to see for ourselves." - Isaac Asimov.


He goes on to show parallels between Biblical stories and modern science-fiction:
  • 'Let there be light!' was an example of advanced scientific mechanisms.
  • God is an extraterrestrial
    Extraterrestrial life
    Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth...

    .
  • Adam and Eve as colonists on a new planet.
  • The serpent was an alien, as Earth snakes don't speak or show any intelligence (and they're trayf, as well).
  • The flood was a story of a world catastrophe, and the survivors (like in Larry Niven
    Larry Niven
    Laurence van Cott Niven / ˈlæri ˈnɪvən/ is an American science fiction author. His best-known work is Ringworld , which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics...

    's "Inconstant Moon
    Inconstant Moon
    Inconstant Moon is a science fiction short story collection by American author Larry Niven that was published in 1973. "Inconstant Moon" is also a 1971 short story that is included in the collection. The title is a quote from the balcony scene in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet...

    ").
  • The Tower of Babel
    Tower of Babel
    The Tower of Babel , according to the Book of Genesis, was an enormous tower built in the plain of Shinar .According to the biblical account, a united humanity of the generations following the Great Flood, speaking a single language and migrating from the east, came to the land of Shinar, where...

     (like Metropolis, which it inspired in part).
  • Moses
    Moses
    Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

     vs. the Egyptian magicians is advanced technological warfare.
  • Samson
    Samson
    Samson, Shimshon ; Shamshoun or Sampson is the third to last of the Judges of the ancient Israelites mentioned in the Tanakh ....

     as Sword-&-Sorcery.
  • First chapter of Ezekiel
    Ezekiel
    Ezekiel , "God will strengthen" , is the central protagonist of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible. In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Ezekiel is acknowledged as a Hebrew prophet...

     is a UFO account.


The Hugo Awards, one of the highest distinctions for science fiction writers, have been awarded to plenty of Biblically derived stories, for instance:
  • Arthur C. Clark's "The Star
    The Star (short story)
    "The Star" is a science fiction short story by English writer Arthur C. Clarke. It appeared in the science fiction magazine Infinity Science Fiction in 1955 and won the Hugo award in 1956. The story was also published as "Star of Bethlehem"...

    ". (On a certain star)
  • Harlan Ellison
    Harlan Ellison
    Harlan Jay Ellison is an American writer. His principal genre is speculative fiction.His published works include over 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, teleplays, essays, a wide range of criticism covering literature, film, television, and print media...

    's "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
    I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
    "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" is a postapocalyptic science fiction short story by Harlan Ellison. It was first published in the March 1967 issue of IF: Worlds of Science Fiction. It won a Hugo Award in 1968. The name was also used for a short story collection of Ellison's work, featuring...

    ". (When God is angry)
  • Larry Niven
    Larry Niven
    Laurence van Cott Niven / ˈlæri ˈnɪvən/ is an American science fiction author. His best-known work is Ringworld , which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics...

    's "Inconstant Moon
    Inconstant Moon
    Inconstant Moon is a science fiction short story collection by American author Larry Niven that was published in 1973. "Inconstant Moon" is also a 1971 short story that is included in the collection. The title is a quote from the balcony scene in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet...

    ". (An explanation of Noah's flood)
  • Harlan Ellison
    Harlan Ellison
    Harlan Jay Ellison is an American writer. His principal genre is speculative fiction.His published works include over 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, teleplays, essays, a wide range of criticism covering literature, film, television, and print media...

    's "The Deathbird
    The Deathbird
    The Deathbird is a well-known novelette by Harlan Ellison. It won the 1974 Hugo and Locus Poll awards for best novelette. It is written in a style which allows for much examination; it is nonlinear but gradually forms a picture of the situation...

    ". (A retold Genesis)


Another example is the Hideaki Anno
Hideaki Anno
is a Japanese animation and film director. Anno is best known for his work on the popular anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion. His style has come to be defined by the touches of postmodernism that he injects into his work, as well as the thorough portrayal of characters' thoughts and emotions,...

's Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion
, commonly referred to as Evangelion, is a commercially and critically successful Japanese anime series that began airing in October 1995. The series was highly influential, and launched the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. It garnered several major animation awards...

 anime series, which takes kabbalah
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 elements, while narrating a reinterpretation of events surrounding Adam, Eve
Eve (Bible)
Eve was, according to the creation of Abrahamic religions, the first woman created by God...

 and Lilith
Lilith
Lilith is a character in Jewish mythology, found earliest in the Babylonian Talmud, who is generally thought to be related to a class of female demons Līlīṯu in Mesopotamian texts. However, Lowell K. Handy notes, "Very little information has been found relating to the Akkadian and Babylonian view...

 on a futuristic and apocalyptic way.

Torah allusions in fiction


Classic and modern literature continue revisting Torah and Haftarah
Haftarah
The haftarah or haftoroh is a series of selections from the books of Nevi'im of the Hebrew Bible that is publicly read in synagogue as part of Jewish religious practice...

  narratives. Saul
Saul
-People:Saul is a given/first name in English, the Anglicized form of the Hebrew name Shaul from the Hebrew Bible:* Saul , including people with this given namein the Bible:* Saul , a king of Edom...

's character from the Books of Samuel
Books of Samuel
The Books of Samuel in the Jewish bible are part of the Former Prophets, , a theological history of the Israelites affirming and explaining the Torah under the guidance of the prophets.Samuel begins by telling how the prophet Samuel is chosen by...

 later emerges as Shakespeare's Macbeth
Macbeth
The Tragedy of Macbeth is a play by William Shakespeare about a regicide and its aftermath. It is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy and is believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607...

. David
David
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

 and Goliath, emerge as Beowulf
Beowulf
Beowulf , but modern scholars agree in naming it after the hero whose life is its subject." of an Old English heroic epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature.It survives in a single...

 and Grendel
Grendel
Grendel is one of three antagonists, along with Grendel's mother and the dragon, in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf . Grendel is usually depicted as a monster, though this is the subject of scholarly debate. In the poem, Grendel is feared by all but Beowulf.-Story:The poem Beowulf is contained in...

. Some books do a much better job of concealing the Haftorah sources from which they borrowed, one such example is Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

 where the main character is orphaned and later enters a seminary type school out of which he emerges a wizard. Clearly there exist parallels between Harry and the prophet Samuel
Samuel
Samuel is a leader of ancient Israel in the Books of Samuel in the Hebrew Bible. He is also known as a prophet and is mentioned in the Qur'an....

 who was also schooled in a seminary type school headed by Eli "The Kohen Gadol" whose sons Phinehas and Hophni bring a curse on their father's house, but the adopted Samuel grows up to become one of the greatest prophets and judges appointed by God to anoint Saul
Saul
-People:Saul is a given/first name in English, the Anglicized form of the Hebrew name Shaul from the Hebrew Bible:* Saul , including people with this given namein the Bible:* Saul , a king of Edom...

, and subsequently the legendary David—kings of Israel. Another example of a Jewish theme in the Harry Potter book "Chamber of Secrets", Professor Dumbledore says "It's our choices that define who we are, not our abilities." This statement was adapted from its derivative form as it originally appears in Deuteronomy 30:19 "...I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life, that you may live, you and your heirs." In the book of Samuel, Eli's sons Hophni and Phinhas are described as using a "three pronged fork" which later emerges as Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

's Trident
Trident
A trident , also called a trishul or leister or gig, is a three-pronged spear. It is used for spear fishing and was also a military weapon. Tridents are featured widely in mythical, historical and modern culture. The major Hindu god, Shiva the Destroyer and the sea god Poseidon or Neptune are...

.

Comic book adaptations


In comic book circles it is often suggested that the two Jewish creators of the Superman
Superman
Superman is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics, widely considered to be an American cultural icon. Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born American artist Joe Shuster in 1932 while both were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and sold to Detective...

 comic, which was essentially the beginning of superhero comics and comic books, were partly inspired by the story of the Golem of Prague.

See also


  • Arabic mythology
  • Christian mythology
    Christian mythology
    Christian mythology is the body of myths associated with Christianity. In the study of mythology, the term "myth" refers to a traditional story, often one which is regarded as sacred and which explains how the world and its inhabitants came to have their present form.Classicist G.S. Kirk defines a...

  • Islamic mythology
    Islamic mythology
    Islamic mythology is the body of traditional narratives associated with Islam from a mythographical perspective. Many Muslims believe that these narratives are historical and sacred and contain profound truths...

  • Kabbalah
    Kabbalah
    Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

  • Religion and mythology
    Religion and mythology
    Religion and mythology differ, but have overlapping aspects. Both terms refer to systems of concepts that are of high importance to a certain community, making statements concerning the supernatural or sacred. Generally, mythology is considered one component or aspect of religion...