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Old 06-16-2001, 11:12 AM   #1
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Post Jewish interpretations of that "Fall" business

(This relates to the "Tree of Knowledge" discussion, but I'm posting it as a new topic because that thread focuses heavily on how Christians read the Genesis story.)

Anyway, my question is: In Jewish thought, is the apple episode regarded in a purely negative light -- that is, do Jews agree with Christians that humanity is worse off because of Adam and Eve's disobedience? Or does Judaism ever view the story as an explanation for something essentially positive, namely humanity's capacity for moral thought?

I ask because one of the first stepping-stones on my own trip from Catholicism to atheism was when I compared the Greek myth of Prometheus to the Genesis story. To the Greeks, who accepted that the gods could be unreasonable and inhumane, Prometheus's defiance of Zeus was heroic, and a boon to mankind. I also gather that Jewish theology has, at least sometimes, allowed more speculation about Yahweh's unreasonableness than is usual among Christian theologians. So, to rephrase my question, do/did any schools of Judaism hold that talking snake in the same esteem that Prometheus enjoyed?
 
Old 06-16-2001, 02:55 PM   #2
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Throbert McGee:
(This relates to the "Tree of Knowledge" discussion, but I'm posting it as a new topic because that thread focuses heavily on how Christians read the Genesis story.)

Anyway, my question is: In Jewish thought, is the apple episode regarded in a purely negative light -- that is, do Jews agree with Christians that humanity is worse off because of Adam and Eve's disobedience? Or does Judaism ever view the story as an explanation for something essentially positive, namely humanity's capacity for moral thought?

I ask because one of the first stepping-stones on my own trip from Catholicism to atheism was when I compared the Greek myth of Prometheus to the Genesis story. To the Greeks, who accepted that the gods could be unreasonable and inhumane, Prometheus's defiance of Zeus was heroic, and a boon to mankind. I also gather that Jewish theology has, at least sometimes, allowed more speculation about Yahweh's unreasonableness than is usual among Christian theologians. So, to rephrase my question, do/did any schools of Judaism hold that talking snake in the same esteem that Prometheus enjoyed?
</font>
Well, I am not a Jew and perhaps should not confuse the issue here but Moses raised the serpent to get to the promised land and just as Moses raised the serpent so must we if ever we are to enjoy eternal life on this earth.

This means that the serpent is good and her cunning ways can teach humanity many things while they are in persuit of happiness after having been alienated from God throught their own fault and not Adam and Eve's.

You should re-examine your position that Adam and Eve ate from the apple because my bible tells me that man and woman did *while* they were naked to with and it is not until they had consumed of the tree of knowledge that their eyes were opened and thus were no longer naked to wit (how else would they understand "Adam where are you?"). It is upon this image that Adam and Eve were created who are therefore the driving forces of our ego identity. This makes our ego good and the serpent (later called Magdalene) the heroin that pulls the strings behind the hero who himself is a total illusion driven into the future to test and taste the leading edge of creation for the purpose of adaptation.

Amos
 
Old 06-16-2001, 11:09 PM   #3
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Uh, thanks Amos. That clears it all up now. Here's your pills.
 
Old 06-17-2001, 04:04 PM   #4
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"do/did any schools of Judaism hold that talking snake in the same esteem that Prometheus enjoyed?"
Not to my knowledge but all the other middle eastern cultures considered the snake 'wisdom' and thought it was very good (Egypt, Sumer, Babylon even Aztec & Mayan all liked the Snake God) Maybe thats why the Jews demonized the snake, it was from a different culture.
 
Old 07-04-2001, 09:01 PM   #5
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My Humanist-orientated research on Genesis suggests that the Hebrews were reformatting and transforming earlier myths and concepts of the Ancient Near Eastern world, specifically, Mesopotamian ideas about the relationship between Man, God and the Cosmos.

In Genesis we have a "Polemic," a "counter definition" to the Mesopotamian understanding of man's relationship to God.

How does one explain the fact that all humans die ? For the Mesopotamians, the gods made man to serve them as slaves, to toil in agriculture, clearing irrigation ditches, harvesting food, offering this food via sacrifices to the gods, allowing them to enter into an eternal "Rest" or "Sabbath" free of toil. Man once had the opportunity to attain immortality but he lost out on the chance, being tricked by the god Enki, and through his "obedience" to his god, he refused to eat the food which would have conferred immortality on him. The Hebrews gave this myth a new twist, Man was DISOBEDIENT, and ate, thus losing a chance for immortality. I go into all this in greater detail in my article titled "Genesis' Genesis, the Hebrew Transformation of the ANE Myths and Concepts," available at the following url (navigate to the OT Menu).

http://bibleorigins.homestead.com/index.html

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Throbert McGee:
(This relates to the "Tree of Knowledge" discussion, but I'm posting it as a new topic because that thread focuses heavily on how Christians read the Genesis story.)

Anyway, my question is: In Jewish thought, is the apple episode regarded in a purely negative light -- that is, do Jews agree with Christians that humanity is worse off because of Adam and Eve's disobedience? Or does Judaism ever view the story as an explanation for something essentially positive, namely humanity's capacity for moral thought?

I ask because one of the first stepping-stones on my own trip from Catholicism to atheism was when I compared the Greek myth of Prometheus to the Genesis story. To the Greeks, who accepted that the gods could be unreasonable and inhumane, Prometheus's defiance of Zeus was heroic, and a boon to mankind. I also gather that Jewish theology has, at least sometimes, allowed more speculation about Yahweh's unreasonableness than is usual among Christian theologians. So, to rephrase my question, do/did any schools of Judaism hold that talking snake in the same esteem that Prometheus enjoyed?
</font>
 
Old 07-05-2001, 04:32 PM   #6
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"...opportunity to attain immortality but he lost out on the chance, being tricked by the god Enki."

I don't believe Enki 'tricked' the Adapa, I think Enki underestimated the benevolence of Anu.
 
Old 07-16-2001, 07:06 AM   #7
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In regards to the observation by Marduk about Enki, my sources indicate he did trick Adapa ! Enki is famed in Sumerian literature as the great "Trickster" god, tricking or deceiving not only mankind in the form of Adapa, but the gods themselves, as in his revealing the flood about to come to Atrahasis after a distrustful Enlil had him swear not to reveal it to mankind. He got around his oath by speaking to the reed wall of Atrahasis' hut instead of directly to Atrahasis. Who, forewarned tore down his reed house and making a reed boat saved himself, family and animals (Sumerian version). The Babylonian version, embelleshes the details. The boat isn't of reeds anymore, its made of timber and is a perfect cube in dimension, and the floding Euphrates river becomes the flood which destroyed all the world !

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Old 07-16-2001, 03:34 PM   #8
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"The Babylonian version, embelleshes the details. The boat isn't of reeds anymore, its made of timber and is a perfect cube in dimension, and the floding Euphrates river becomes the flood which destroyed all"

A cube! ah ha! the Borg were involved, as I've allways suspected, the Annunaki were aliens after all!

Enki trickster, wisdom, snake in the Hebrew version???

[ July 16, 2001: Message edited by: marduck ]
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Old 07-18-2001, 08:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Throbert McGee:
<STRONG>
Anyway, my question is: In Jewish thought, is the apple episode regarded in a purely negative light -- that is, do Jews agree with Christians that humanity is worse off because of Adam and Eve's disobedience? Or does Judaism ever view the story as an explanation for something essentially positive, namely humanity's capacity for moral thought?</STRONG>
Most Orthodox Jewish schools of thought agree that mankind is worse off from that episode of Adam and Eve's disobedience. The Talmudic Sages (Hazal, abbreviation of "Our Sages of Blessed Memory") say, "Adam the first was an Epicurean". "Adam the first" means Adam as the ancestor of all people, and "Epicurean" means disbelieving in the sovereignty and judgement of God. That is, the greatest sin of mankind according to Judaism is unbelief in the One True God who is creator and sovereign over all his creation, and it is the mission of the Jews to put an end to this state of unbelief.

The Qabbala, the body of Jewish mystic scriptures, says that the vessels of divinity, through which mankind receives the spiritual light of God, were shattered when Adam ate of the fruit. It is the work of the Jewish people to repair the damage by performing the commands of God as given in the Torah. When the work is complete, say the Qabbalic sages, God will initiate the Messianic age, where the separation between the physical and the spiritual realms will be terminated. As for the Gentiles, they have no obligation but to observe the 7 commandments of the sons of Noah (given after the Flood), and they cannot bring the kingdom of God (you should understand by now that traditional Judaism is a staunchly ethnocentric religion).

The episode also provides a pretext for some "punishments" given to women according to Orthodox Judaism: menstruation (bleeding for spilling Adam's blood), covering the head (as in mourning, because she has brought the world into a state of mourning), painful childbirth and some more curses.

As for the snake, Jewish sages regarded it both literally (to this day, Orthodox Jews are literal 6-day creationists) and symbolically, as the embodiment of Epicureanism (apikorsut), unbelief, disobedience to God. Only by overcoming unbelief and obeying God can mankind be returned to the primordial state as it was in the Garden of Eden.

Needless to say, according to Orthodox Judaism I'm one of those who are delaying the Messianic redemption . That's one of the reasons for the heated tension between secular (unbelieving) and religious (Orthodox) Jews in Israel.
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Old 07-18-2001, 03:53 PM   #10
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At least one Kabbalist notes that the word for serpent and the word for messiah have the same numerical value. Kabbalah places great store on numerical coincidence and this Kabbalist suggests that the serpent and the messiah are the same being/principle and there is indeed a "higher purpose" to the fall and that god planned it all along.

Personally, I think that that is nothing more than an attempt by a mystic, to make Jewish mythology acceptable to discriminating minds and keep it relevant.
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