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Biblical Myth and Rabbinic Mythmaking$
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Michael Fishbane

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198267331

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0198267339.001.0001

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Myths of Divinity

Myths of Divinity

Chapter:
(p.160) 8 Myths of Divinity
Source:
Biblical Myth and Rabbinic Mythmaking
Author(s):

MICHAEL FISHBANE

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198267339.003.0009

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

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